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Listed as 24th most common cancer in India and 18th in terms of mortality, Pancreatic cancer is a malignancy that originates from the tissues of your pancreas, about 6-inch-long gland located in the abdominal cavity, which is responsible for the secretion of important digestive enzymes and hormones that help to keep your blood sugar under check. Pancreatic cancer can be of various different types, the most common of which is the one that develops in the cells that line the ducts which are responsible for carrying the digestive enzymes. This is commonly referred to as pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.
Pancreatic cancer is the result of unhealthy mutations in the DNA of the pancreatic cells that makes them grow and multiply uncontrollably. In most cases, the cancer originates in the cells lining the pancreatic ducts. This is commonly referred to as adenocarcinoma or pancreatic exocrine cancer. In rare cases, these might also develop in the neuroendocrine pancreatic cells and result in the formation of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours.
Various modalities available for the screening and diagnosis of pancreatic cancer are listed below:
Various treatment options available for addressing pancreatic cancer include:
Surgery – The goal of the surgery is to extract the tumour and remove the affected part of the pancreas to bring down the risks of remission. Depending upon the location of the tumour, the surgery can be categorized into the following:
Chemotherapy – It uses special drugs, that are given orally or intravenously, to target rapidly-growing cancerous cells. Chemotherapy may also be used in combination with radiation therapy to treat cancers that have not yet metastasized. This is referred to as chemoradiation.
Radiation therapy – It used x-ray beams of high intensity to target the cancerous cells. This may be given before the surgery, to reduce the size of the tumour, and after the surgery to destroy cancerous cells that were left behind during the surgery. These radiations may be given externally, using a special radiation machine, or from within, using certain radiation emitting substances.