Common Pancreatic Cancer Causes

Common Pancreatic Cancer Causes:

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There are no official preventive measures that can be taken to ensure you won’t develop pancreatic cancer. However, by being aware about the most common pancreatic cancers you will find yourself in a better position since you can at least suspect the disease if you start developing its symptoms.

Knowing the pancreatic cancer causes can also assist your doctors if they have to make pancreatic cancer diagnosis. With the being said, learn about the pancreatic causes by reading more about them below:

  • Race– First on the list of pancreatic cause is race. African men and women are at greater risk of developing disease.
  • Weight– Weight is one the pancreatic cancer cause that a person can actually do something about. If they do, they decrease their risk of developing the disease, for overweight people tend to be more at risk than their thin counterparts. It should be noted that it doesn’t matter how much extra weight a person is carrying. Overweight people and obese people both are equally at risk for getting pancreatic cancer.
  • Pre-existing conditions– Certain conditions have been known to trigger pancreatic cancer. Specifically these conditions are for diabetes and hereditary pancreatitis. Diabetes is a condition in which one’s insulin levels are not normal. Whether they are too low to too high, it results in pancreatic cancer later in a person’s life, even if it’s temporary which the case with gestational diabetes is.
  • Hereditary pancreatitis– This is a rare condition in which a person gets chronic pancreatitis, which is very painful inflammation of the pancreas. Perhaps the disease makes the pancreas more susceptible to abnormal tumor growth because it is puts the organ through high level of stress already. Either way, if you do suffer from hereditary pancreatitis, you will want to especially be on the lookout for pancreatic cancer symptoms.
  • Smoking– Smoking is another cause that can be controlled; even it’s difficult for one that has become addicted to it. And while may think smoking puts the lungs more at risk, statistics reveals that the practice makes one just as prone for developing pancreatic cancer. Specifically, smokers are two or three times more likely to get pancreatic cancer. And of all the pancreatic cases that are out there, one in three will involve a victim who is a smoker. So, the ultimate lesson is if you’re smoking find a way to stop it. This is especially the case if any of the other 4 pancreatic cancer causes discussed in this article apply to you.

Now, don’t panic if you find any of this pancreatic cancer causes apply to you. Just because you possess one or more risk factors that doesn’t automatically mean you’ll develop the disease. Try your best to keep your overall health in order by exercising and eating a healthy diet, especially one food is known to be cancer-fighting agents, (such as broccoli). This won’t guarantee you’ll be fully protected against pancreatic cancer, but it will make your body in a better position to fight off elements that may promote tumor growth.

Pancreatic Cancer Facts

Pancreatic Cancer Facts:

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Pancreas cancer is the condition of abnormal growth of cells in the pancreas and other parts of the body. Knowing about this cancer can help you a lot in dealing with your problem. So here are some facts related to pancreatic cancer which you should know about.

Some important pancreatic cancer facts

  • This type of cancer has the lowest survival rate of all other cancer types. Only 3-6% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive for 5 years.
  • Around 905 people throughout the world die from pancreatic cancer in the World Pancreatic Cancer Day.
  • Survival rate for most cancers has improved in the last 40 years except pancreatic cancer.
  • Early diagnosis is the key for pancreatic cancer. Patients that are diagnosed in time can increase their chances to survive for 5 or more years.
  • Pancreatic cancer is the underfunded disease for many years and gets only 2% of overall cancer research funding.
  • Pancreatic cancer is the 12th most common cancer type across the world and around 33000 new cases were diagnosed in 2012.
  • It is the 7th most common cause of cancer deaths in the world.
  • It is common in developed countries but it is on the rise in developing countries like India and Africa.
  • Pancreatic cancer is mostly diagnosed too late with 80% of patients and they have an average life expectancy of just 4-6 months.
  • The function of pancreas includes helping the body to use and store energy from food by making hormones to control blood sugar level and digestive enzymes to break down food.
  • Cancer in the pancreas occurs when abnormal cells grow in the pancreas in an uncontrollable number and forms a mass of tissue – tumor.
  • Pancreatic cancer symptoms can be vague and depends on the location of the tumor, such as in the body, head or tail of the pancreas. Jaundice is a symptom in around 50% of pancreatic cancer cases and abdominal pain occurs in around 70% of cases.
  • Pancreatic cancer can affect both men and women.
  • Latest study reports reveal that death rates for pancreatic cancer are increasing whereas for most other cancers it is declining.
  • According to latest study reports, a good and healthy body weight, avoiding smoking and alcohol drinking in moderation can decrease the risk of pancreatic cancer.

It is good to know that in early stages pancreas cancer does not show any symptoms. But when it grows larger, you may notice the below mentioned common symptoms:

  • Pain in the upper part of the belly
  • Pale stools, dark urine and yellow skin and eyes due to jaundice
  • Pain the center of your back that does not disappear when you change your position
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Stools float in the toilet

Advanced cancer symptoms

  • Feeling very tired or weakness
  • Sudden weight loss for no reason
  • Loss of appetite or feeling of fullness

These symptoms could be due to pancreatic cancer or any other health problems. If you notice these symptoms, you should tell your doctor so that he can advise for diagnosis and immediate treatment. If you are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, try to find an experienced medical oncologist specialized in pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer Types and Treatment

Pancreatic Cancer Types and Treatment:

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Cancer, a word that could eat away at the mental fortitude of even the most powerful or wealthiest person, the second leading cause of death claims the lives of an estimated 10 million all over the World every year.

Types of Pancreatic Cancer:

  • Exocrine Cancers
  • Neuro-Endocrine cancers

Exocrine Cancers:

An estimated 95% of cases are classified to be exocrine tumors that occur in the exocrine cells tasked to produce the pancreatic enzymes that help digestion. Different cases of exocrine cancer are:

  • The pancreatic adenocarcinoma, a type of exocrine cancer, is the most common, with statistics indicating to 85% of all pancreatic cancer cases. Abbreviated as PDAC for Pancreatic Ductal adenocarcinoma, the pancreatic carcinoma starts at the ducts of the pancreas.
  • The next most common type, acinar cell carcinoma of the pancreas, arises in the clusters of cells that produce these enzymes, and represents 5% of exocrine pancreas cancers. This type of cancer can cause an excess production of these enzymes which may cause symptoms such as skin rashes and joint pain.

Treatments for Exocrine Cancer:

As it is now, Exocrine Cancers are treated with only surgery being a possible option. A key assessment that is made after diagnosis is whether the tumor can be surgically removed. The extent of its spread or growth and the exact location of the tumor are primarily considered for if surgical resection can be offered. And statistically, only 20% of new cases are possibly treated with curative surgery.

After surgery, post-operative or adjuvant chemotherapy can be offered if the person deemed sufficiently fit after a recovery period of one to two months. In people not suitable for curative surgery, chemotherapy may be used to extend or improve the quality of life. Pre-operative chemotherapy may be administered to cases considered borderline resectable so as to reduce the cancer to a level where surgery could be “promising”.

Neuro-Endocrine Cancers:

PanNETs or Pancreatic Neuro-Endocrine tumors are seemingly rare with cancer lesions occurring in the hormone producing cells or islets in the pancreas. PanNETs may be benign or malignant cancer, have a better prognosis and are less common than pancreatic exocrine tumors. Some possible symptoms of having a PanNET are Diarrhea, indigestion, a lump in the abdomen, pain in the abdomen or back and yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.

Treatment for PanNETs:

Pancreatic NETs are often cured and treatment options depend on the following factors,

  • The type of cancer cell.
  • Location of the tumor in the pancreas.
  • Area of spread of the tumor,
  • Whether the patient has MEN1 syndrome.
  • The patient’s age and general health.

Standard treatment for PanNETs includes surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, hepatic arterial occlusion or chemoembolization, targeted therapy and supportive care. Pancreatic NETs are mostly likely to not have spread to distant parts, making them more likely to be resectable than exocrine cancers.

Surgery will be done for resectable cancers depending on the size, type and location on the tumor in the pancreas, along with close monitoring to look for signs of recurring cancer.

Unresectable tumors on the other hand cannot be removed with surgery. Since PanNETs are often slow growing, chemotherapy is used to delay it until the person starts to have symptoms that cannot be controlled with drugs, whence surgery may be used to control the cancers spread to the liver.

Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer:

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Pancreatic cancer is also known as Silent cancer because it has been seen that its early symptoms are vague and unrecognizable. However, you can see the symptoms present early in several cases. Here is some pancreatic cancer symptom to watch out for:

Major pancreatic cancer symptoms include:

  • Painless jaundice which includes itching, dark color urine and yellow eyes and skin. it majorly linked to obstruction in bile duct.
  • Weight loss which is unexplained and significantly seen
  • Abdominal pain

Other symptoms include:

  • Upper abdomen pain which reaches out to the back and is persistent and new. It is relieved when you lean forward
  • Back ache
  • Diabetes which is new and not connected to weight gain
  • Abdominal discomfort and poor indigestion
  • Appetite loss
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Pain while eating
  • Fatty stool with foul smell and pale color

Everyone doesn’t experience these symptoms. For instance, those who have a tumor in their body may not have painless jaundice. These symptoms can also have other reasons and thus they aren’t reliable completely.

The Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms- Fully Explained

Pain in the upper back and abdomen

Around 70 percent of the people suffering from pancreatic cancer majorly visit the doctor because of the initial pain. This pain is mainly described as the starting in the belly area and it expands around to the upper back area (possibly the area where a woman ties her bra strap)

This pain gets worse when you’re lying down rather than sitting up. Generally the major reason for this ache is the tumor is getting pressed against your spine and abdomen.


Half of the pancreatic cancer patients experience yellowing of the skin and eye whites when they first visit a doctor. This is majorly a jaundice call. It is related to the tumor which causes blockage of the bile duct which further leads to bile juice buildup in the liver.

Jaundice is more easily noticed in the whites of the eyes and if it gets worsens it may cause itching of the skin.


Most of the patients have also stated that they have experienced mood swings before their diagnosis. Small to severe depression can be noticed in the initial stages of pancreatic cancer. This is the reason if you haven’t experienced chronic bouts of depression previously should convey their worry to their GP.  It may prove to be a major highlight of the cancer in the primary stage.

Bowel change

A pancreatic tumor can also lead to bowel disturbance which means that the food you’re consuming isn’t getting absorbed well. This will lead to constant large bowel movements of foul smelling and pale stool. It can also result in weight loss.


Diabetes majorly occurs due to insulin deficiency which is a product of pancreas. A tumor can prohibit the production of insulin in the pancreas leading to commencement of diabetes in the initial stage of pancreatic cancer.

You can also have diabetes if you pass more urine than the normal quantity, feel thirsty more often and have low energy.

These are some of the pancreatic cancer symptoms. In case, you experience any, do not hesitate in visiting your doctor as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer:

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Nobody wants to suspect that they have pancreatic cancer. Yet, if a person is experiencing the common symptoms of pancreatic cancer, they should get it tested for this disease. By knowing for sure whether or not they are suffering with it, they can get the treatment they need soon. This will relieve some of the symptoms and given the chance that they can live longer. But in order to get checked out they will need to know what the common symptoms of pancreatic cancer are.

These are provided in detail below-

  1. Stomach Pain that May Spread to Other Areas– Abdominal pain is one of the most common symptoms of pancreatic cancer. It occurs because the tumors press up against the organs and also the nerves in your abdominal cavity. Despite this sometimes the pain goes up against the organs and nerves in your abdominal region. The middle back and upper back is an example. As far as how often the pain occurs, it can be chronic or once in a while. So, don’t necessarily expect that in order to have pancreatic cancer, you must be in pain all the time.
  2. Appetite Changes– As the pancreatic tumor take over abdominal region, they will deprive healthy cells of vital nutrients. They may also suppress the stomach slightly. As a result you may experience change in appetite. This could lead to weight loss, since a loss of appetite would naturally mean you’re not eating as much. Unfortunately, many people may not identify weight loss as one of the common symptoms of pancreatic cancer, especially if they are actually trying to lose weight.
  3. Severe itching– Of the common symptoms of pancreatic cancer, severe itching is also one of the most unusual. It is caused by excessive bile accumulating in the skin.
  4. Jaundice– When it comes to the common symptoms of pancreatic cancer, jaundice is one of the most signature. This occurs due the body inability to dispose of bilirubin, which is a byproduct produced by worn-out blood cells. When the body functions normally bilirubin is disposed in bile. However, when a person has pancreatic cancer, bile flow gets blocked by the tumors. This results in yellowing of the skin, which is characteristic of jaundice.
  5. Digestive Troubles– When a person has pancreatic cancer, enzymes that is normally be produced by the pancreas get halted. This is a problem since these enzymes help ensure a healthier digestion. As a result a pancreatic cancer sufferer may encounter all the digestive problems, especially if the floods they are consuming are high in fat. Such difficulties will also lead to additional unexplained weight loss as well as malnutrition.
  6. Nausea– More advanced stages of pancreatic cancer may result in blockage of the digestive tract which could result in nausea.

If you have any of these symptoms, more so if you have more than one of all these symptoms, then you must consult a doctor. Aside from those experiencing the indications, people with past records of other cancer types and histories of cancer in their families, all should also undergo tests. Diagnostic procedures usually involve a series of X-rays such as angiogram, CT scan and ERCP, and ultrasounds like trans-abdominal and the newest Endoscopic ultrasound.