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Pancreatic Cancer: Importance Of Early Detection And Treatment

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Genetic testing can be provided for patients and family members by the treating team after genetic counselling & understanding its benefits and limitations.

Written by Tavishi Dogra | Updated : November 24, 2023 8:29 AM IST

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Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive cancer that develops when normal cells in the pancreas undergo changes and grow uncontrollably. Pancreatic cancer can present with symptoms such as jaundice, abdominal pain, loose stools, and new-onset diabetes in adults. However, Dr. Deepak Kumar Shukla, Consultant - Medical Oncology, Manipal Hospital, Jaipur, shares that these symptoms are not exclusive to pancreatic cancer and can be seen in other conditions.

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Risk Factors

These include Cigarette smoking, Obesity, Physical inactivity, High intake of fat, Certain hereditary genes, such as BRCA, and Factors like coffee and alcohol intake and their association with pancreatic cancer have not shown consistent results. Also Read - 6 Side Effects Of Cashew Nuts You Must Be Aware Of

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Staging

Pancreatic cancer is staged using imaging tests such as triple-phase CT, abdomen, and MRI. These tests help doctors assess the spread of the cancer and its relation to surrounding blood vessels.

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Treatment

Staging investigations help in deciding if it is possible to remove cancer safely or if it requires the use of chemotherapy or radiotherapy to be given to downstage it before surgery. If the surgery is done initially, then this is usually followed by chemotherapy and, in some cases, radiotherapy to prevent recurrence. Also Read - 9 Hidden Benefits Of Eating Mangosteen

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Follow-up Care

Even with optimal treatment, the chances of recurrence are high, so regular follow-up care is essential. Follow-up care may include blood tests, such as CA-19-9, and imaging tests to monitor the patient's condition. Chemotherapy and targeted treatment may improve survival and quality of life if the cancer recurs. Local nerve blocks and drugs for pain management can be offered as needed. Also, stenting or percutaneous drainage may be necessary if a patient develops jaundice. Genetic testing can be provided for patients and family members by the treating team after genetic counselling & understanding its benefits and limitations.