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Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms, awareness and prevention

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and as a Multispecialty hospital in Chennai, we feel it is important to share information regarding this aggressive type of cancer. Early detection can be a lifesaver and monitoring your health for symptoms is very very crucial. Pancreatic cancer is one of the nation’s deadliest cancers with a five-year survival rate at just 9 per cent.

Pancreas plays a very important role in our body and mainly functions to aid in digestion and prepare hormones such as insulin to help control the body to store and to utilise glucose. Sugar is the major component and is the main source of energy for a human body. Cancer begins in the cells of the pancreas which lie in the abdomen that lies behind the lower part of the stomach.

Every pancreatic cancer patient is different. Most of our cancer experts at Be Well have extensive experience in properly staging and diagnosing the disease, and developing a treatment plan that's tailored to the specific type of apancreatic cancer.

There are two types of pancreatic cancer that of the exocrine gland and the other of the endocrine gland. About 90% of pancreatic cancer begins in the exocrine cells of the pancreas.

1)         Endocrine: These are less common and most benign. They are also called pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors or islet cell tumors. They are very rare, and the cancer stems out from thepancreatic endocrine tumors (PET) which affects the hormone-producing cells.

2)         Exocrine: These tumors that affect the exocrine gland are called as adenocarcinomas . This type of cancer forms in the pancreatic ducts and treatment of these are based on the various stages of spread of the cancer.

Smoking, being overweight, having diabetes, chronic pancreatitis, and certain hereditary conditions are some of the risk factors for pancreatic cancer.

Symptoms may include the following

           Back or abdominal pain)
           Weight loss
           jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
           Loss of appetite
           Changes in stool
           Recent onset of diabetes

If you are experiencing one or more of these unexplained symptoms, see your doctors at any Gastroenterology hospital in Chennai.

Fortunately, Research has shown what can be done to prevent pancreatic cancer, and the following can help.

1)         Maintain a healthy weight: Obese people have an increased 20% risk of developing the disease compared to people who are of normal weight. To determine a healthy weight, one must strive for a good BMI or body mass index between 20 and 25.

2)         Make sure you limit alcohol usage: Studies have shown time and again that there is 36% risk of pancreatic cancer for men and women who drink 3 or more alcoholic drinks in a day compared to the ones who never drink.

3)         Quit smoking- Smoking can cause a significant risk factor and smokers are 2 times more likely to develop cancer than the people who do not smoke.

We at Be Well hospitals hope raising awareness will help others catch the disease early. You can also help save lives by spreading the word about symptoms and risk factors associated with pancreatic cancer.


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