Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer can arise from any part of the pancreas but majority of them arise from the head of the pancreas. It is the 12th most common cancer in the world.

Risk Factors

  • Smoking
  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Previous history of cancer
  • History of radiotherapy
  • Chronic pancreatic inflammation
  • Family history of pancreatitis
  • Pylori infection
  • Hepatitis infections

Types

Most pancreatic cancers are exocrine in nature.

  • Adenocarcinomas
  • Cystic tumours
  • Cancer of the acinar cells

Endocrine cancers are called Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumours(PNETS)

Stages

Stage 1 means that cancer < 4cms in size and has not spread to any nearby lymph nodes

Stage 2 means that cancer has spread beyond the confines of the pancreas into the surrounding tissues and maybe into the lymph nodes but not the blood vessels

Stage 3 means that cancer has spread outside the pancreas and into the nearby large blood vessels. It may or may not have spread into the lymph nodes

Stage 4 means that cancer has spread into other areas of the body like the liver, pancreas and nearby large blood vessels. This stage the cancer has spread typically to the liver or lungs

Symptoms

  • Pain in the stomach or back
  • Jaundice
  • Weight loss
  • Itching
  • Diabetes
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Fever
  • Blood clots

Genetic Predisposition

  • BRCA2
  • BRCA 1

Treatment

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy