Detect Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is among the more challenging cancers treated by the team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers. According to American Cancer Society, about 60,430 people (31,950 men and 28,480 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 48,220 people (25,270 men and 22,950 women) will pass away as result of pancreatic cancer this year.

Comprehensive knows that helping people understand how to detect signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer is important, as increased knowledge leads to early detection. Early detection, in turn, leads to more successful treatment outcomes. An equally important part of Comprehensive’s approach toward pancreatic, and all other cancers, comes from the practice staying up-to-date on advances in detection and treatment.

A recent finding shared by the United Kingdom’s National Cancer Research Institute outlined how researchers have identified two previously unrecognized symptoms – feeling thirsty and having dark urine – in a study presented at its annual NCRI Festival  – as indicators for the potential of pancreatic cancer.

The study confirmed an additional 21 signs of pancreatic cancer and showed that patients often have some symptoms of pancreatic cancer up to a year before their cancers are diagnosed. The researchers hope their findings can improve survival by helping doctors diagnose the disease earlier, especially when patients present with several seemingly non-specific symptoms.

These symptoms include yellowing of the skin, bleeding in the stomach or intestine, problems swallowing, diarrhea, change in bowel habits, vomiting, indigestion, abdominal mass, abdominal pain, weight loss, constipation, fat in stool, abdominal swelling, nausea, flatulence, heartburn, fever, tiredness, appetite loss, itching, back pain, thirst, and dark urine.

These findings can help provide more uniform guidelines for early diagnosis, as given pancreatic cancer’s high mortality rate is often attributed to late diagnoses, which leave the disease untreated for far too long. The key is for physicians, and patients to take these symptoms seriously, and be sure to secure additional screenings for cancers, should the symptoms present, even if they otherwise appear to be innocuous.

If any of the signs and symptoms described present, additional exams and tests may be done to determine whether the symptom is caused by pancreatic cancer or another disease. It’s also important to note that if these symptoms occur, it might already be in its late stages, and it’s critical to seek medical care immediately.

Most cases of pancreatic cancer are caused by exocrine tumors, with approximately 95%of cancer of the exocrine pancreas adenocarcinomas. These cancers usually begin in the ducts of the pancreas, but they sometimes develop from the cells that make the pancreatic enzymes. Less common types of cancer of the pancreas include adenosquamous carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and giant cell carcinomas.

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer recommend those diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 60 or over should get checked for pancreatic cancer. Those living with diabetes have a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer and it’s urged that people know their family’s health history as well.

Reducing Pancreatic Cancer Risks

Comprehensive Cancer’s physicians recommend a healthy lifestyle to reduce all cancer risks. Avoiding smoking is another way to reduce risks for pancreatic and all cancers. If you’re smoking, quitting smoking may reduce both pancreatic and other cancer risks.  Healthy diets have been shown to be helpful with fruits and vegetables delivering nutrients. Cutting back consumption of alcohol is also a good lifestyle choice to reduce health risks.

Pancreatic Cancer Treatment Options

Treatment options for patients of Comprehensive Cancer Centers with pancreatic cancer often include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or targeted therapy. One form of radiation therapy, is CyberKnife® Radiosurgery. The technology is exclusive to radiation oncologists at Comprehensive and offers patients a painless, non-invasive treatment alternative using computer-operated robotics and image guidance technology to treat hard-to-reach tumors.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for patients with pancreatic cancer and those interested in other services including cancer genetic counseling and world-class clinical research.  To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.


The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.