By NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE
Pancreatic cancer is disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the tissues of the pancreas. It is also called exocrine cancer.
Early cancer of the pancreas often doesn’t cause symptoms. When the cancer grows larger, you may notice one or more of these common symptoms:
Also, advanced cancer may cause these general symptoms:
These symptoms may be caused by pancreatic cancer or by other health problems. People with these symptoms should tell their doctor so that problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.
If you have symptoms that suggest cancer of the pancreas, your doctor will try to find out what’s causing the problems.
You may have blood or other lab tests. Also, you may have one or more of the following tests:
Treatment options for people with cancer of the pancreas are surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and radiation therapy. You’ll probably receive more than one type of treatment.
The treatment that’s right for you depends mainly on the following:
At this time, cancer of the pancreas can be cured only when it’s found at an early stage (before it has spread) and only if surgery can completely remove the tumor. For people who can’t have surgery, other treatments may be able to help them live longer and feel better.
Nutrition is an important part of your care. Getting the right nutrition can help you feel better and have more strength. However, pancreatic cancer and its treatment may make it hard for you to digest food and to maintain your weight. You may not feel like eating for a variety of reasons, such as feeling tired or feeling full soon after eating.
You may find it helpful to work with a dietitian. A dietitian can help you choose foods and nutrition products that will meet your needs and can make you feel more comfortable with eating. Your health care team will check you for weight loss and ask whether you are having problems with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. If your nutrition problems do not get better quickly enough, you may be offered another way of getting nutrition, such as a feeding tube.
Learning that you have cancer of the pancreas can change your life and the lives of those close to you. These changes can be hard to handle. It’s normal for you, your family, and your friends to need help coping with the feelings that a diagnosis of cancer can bring.
Concerns about treatments and managing side effects, hospital stays, and medical bills are common. You may also worry about caring for your family, keeping your job, or continuing daily activities.
Here’s where you can go for support:
Source and originator of this content is the National Cancer Institute. For more information about this topic see www.cancer.gov.