Pancreatic cancers also described as the cancer of the pancreas is one of the serious genetic diseases and have increased the mortality rates among the Americans. It’s ranked fifth among the genetic diseases that are very fatal. The number of people affected in about 28,000 every year in America which is estimated to be a rate of about five people out of 100,000 is a patient of this condition. The Johns Hopkins Medical Institute doctors describe ‘pancreatic cancer as a 21st century challenge’.
The pancreas is the gland after by this cancer hence the name pancreatic cancer. It’s located behind the stomach and extends across the abdomen. It’s made up of two glands the exocrine and the endocrine glands. The pancreas is responsible for the enzyme that digests fats and proteins and it’s secreted by the exocrine pancreas. Some of the cells of the organ are endocrine and secret hormone like insulin and glucagons hence assist in metabolism of sugar.
Perhaps the big question is to ask; how do these cells of the pancreas develop cancer? The human cells are susceptible to oncogenesis meaning that they can easily develop tumors, American Cancer Society (2008). It’s been established that exocrine tumors are very prevalent. Nonetheless, all the tumors are usually not cancerous. Smaller fractions are usually benign. In the study of pancreatic cancer it’s important to note that the malignant cells are the worst that lead to serious states of cancers. Pancreatic cancer involves very critical aspects of pathology just like other diseases and these include the causes, signs and symptoms, mortality, prevalence, risk factors, diagnosis and medication (Sulyak et al 2003 & Reber 1998).
Another critical question is; what are the causes of the cancer of the pancreas? Its not been established exactly but some risk factors potent so much probability of the disease and are usually considered as the causes of the dieses by some researchers. For instance, smoking, old age, Diabetes mellitus and pancreatitis especially caused by excessive alcoholic consumption, American Cancer Society (2008). These leads to the nest question which is what are the risk factor for developing pancreatic cancer? There are a number of events and circumstances that have been associated with higher prevalence of the disease condition. Basically there is need to found out what is a risk factor? This is something that enhances the possibility of getting the disease condition in question like in this case the pancreatic cancer. Some risk factors like smoking can be managed while others are out of our ability like age, and race cannot be changed. The following are some of the common risk factors; age- most of people older than 55 year have higher risk (90%) (Jemal et al 2004); gender – men are more prone to pancreatic Cancer at a ratio of 1:3 compared to women; race- the prevalence is very high in African American compared to Caucasian and Hispanic Americans; smoking- smokers have a 2-3 higher risk of developing cancer; diet- foods very rich in proteins and very fatty are very hazardous while fruits and vegetable reduce the chances. Obesity is also a risk factor; other factors include diabetes, liver cirrhosis, and family history of the disease, work exposure and genetic changes (Sulyak et al 2003).
What are the symptoms of this condition? The major signs and symptoms that are common for pancreatic cancer patients include; abdominal pain and the lower back, notable loss of weight and is often linked to lack of appetite, bloated stomach, diarrhea (especially steatorrhea) and occasionally in diabetics. These symptoms are however very vague and are easily confused for other common diseases which are less serious. This had been very upsetting as many of the discovered condition are already in advanced stages- early diagnosis is very difficult hence higher mortality as well (Swiezewski 1999).
So how is pancreatic cancer diagnosed? It’s usually very difficult to diagnose but physical examination is done to establish private conditions and family history, Physical signs, pulse, blood pressure and so on. Other operations to be done include x-rays for blood vessels (angiogram), trans-abdominal ultrasound, CT scan for the pancreas picture, and a special x-ray for the bile, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (the ERCP) and lately new technology has introduced Endoscopic ultrasound (Michaud et al 2001). However a biopsy is the surest way to determine the presence of cancer. A critical concern is whether pancreatic cancer can be prevented? Scientists have not established a sure way to prevent this condition but avoiding the risk factors that are avoidable is essential like smoking, diet and exercise, eMedicineHealth (2009).
What is the prevalence? According the predictions by the cancer society of the U.S, there are about 35, 180 people infected with the disease this year and the mortality will be about 32, 800. The society also estimates that the five year rate of survival following diagnosis was only 4%. It’s 4th leading cause of death as a cancer (Jemal et al 2004). Since the condition is very fatal, what is the available treatment? This question is very important; the treatment cancer is very difficult and is essentially dependent several factors among them the type of cancer, degree (stage) and size of the tumor plus the age of the patient, eMedicineHealth (2009). The disease can only be cured when diagnosed in its early stages. Several methods of treatment are available and they include chemotherapy, surgery, radio therapy and radiation.