Pancreatic Cancer: A Silent Killer Or Your Typical Cancer

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Pancreatic Cancer: A Silent Killer or Your Typical Cancer

Pancreatic Cancer: A Silent Killer or Your Typical Cancer


Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive type of cancer. If the disease is detected, it is with many people already spread and / or the tumor has already grown far into the surrounding tissue. With a relatively small tumor in the head of the pancreas may involve curative operation that can be proposed. We already know that processed meat increased the risk of developing colon cancer, but scientists are now adding even a small amount consumed daily increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. According to the recent research study, 50 g of processed meat per day increases the risk by 19%. This is equivalent to a sausage or two slices of bacon per day. 150 g increase the risk by 57%. These are the conclusions reached after analysis of 11 studies involving 6,000 people. Pancreatic cancer is called the "silent killer" because it has no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. If there are, they are nonspecific symptoms such as back pain, loss of appetite and weight loss. Unfortunately, at the time of diagnosis, it is often too late. Only 3% of people have a survival rate of five years (Altekruse, et al., 2010).


The pancreas is a large gland about 15 cm long, located in the abdomen, behind the stomach, near the spine. This organ has two functions:

It secretes hormones such as insulin and glucagon allow and regulate the level of glucose in the blood (blood sugar). This is the endocrine function.

It produces pancreatic juices containing enzymes used to digest proteins and fats. This is the exocrine function.

Pancreatic cancer is due to the formation of a malignant tumor, that is to say, a mass of abnormal cells that proliferate uncontrollably and more or less rapid, and threaten to spread elsewhere in the body. More than 95% of pancreatic tumors affecting the region that provide exocrine pancreas (Altekruse, et al., 2010).

Evolution and prevalence

As the pancreas is housed in the hollow of the abdomen and it is devoid of nerve endings that could indicate an anomaly in sending pain signals, pancreatic tumors are usually asymptomatic. It is therefore difficult to diagnose pancreatic cancer at an early stage, which resulted to be the most common form of cancer death. Pancreatic cancer accounts for approximately 2% of new cancer cases detected each year in Canada. Most patients are older than 60 years (American Cancer Society, 2011).

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer

When it has reached an advanced stage, the tumor can cause symptoms that resemble the symptoms of many other diseases of the digestive system:

Abdominal pain that may spread to the back

Jaundice: yellow eyes and skin, pale stools and dark urine.

Unexplained weight loss.

Bloating, feeling of having a full stomach even after eating little

Loss of appetite

Nausea, vomiting

Extreme fatigue and widespread.

These symptoms do not necessarily indicate the presence of a cancerous tumor. In fact, they can be signs of other problems more common. If such symptoms occur, it is important to ...
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