All You Need To Know About Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues present in your pancreas which is an organ in your abdomen and lies horizontally behind the lower part of your stomach. Your pancreas tends to release enzymes which help digestion and hormones that are responsible for managing your blood sugar. So, now according to a study published in the

journal Clinical Cancer Research, adding blood test for pancreatic cancer may help early detection. The combination approach detects 70 per cent of pancreatic cancers with a less than 5 per cent false-positive rate, according to the team led by scientists at the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

According to the study senior author Brian Haab, “We hope that this new test, when used in combination with the tests available currently, will allow doctors to catch and treat pancreatic cancer in high-risk individuals before it may spread.” Both blood tests help you measure levels of sugars produced by your pancreatic cancer cells. The sugar measured by the new test – sTRA – is produced by a different subset of pancreatic cancers than the sugar measured by the existing test. Hence, when jointly used, there’s a better chance of detecting pancreatic cancers that may have been missed by one of the tests alone, the researchers said. Hence, this is surely going to be helpful. Along with this, we also brief you about pancreatic cancer and its preventive measures.

What is pancreatic cancer?

When malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of your pancreas can be termed as pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer may spread rapidly to nearby organs as well. It is rarely detected in its early stages. But for people with pancreatic cysts or a family history of pancreatic cancer, screening steps can be helpful for early diagnosis. Pancreatic cancer can occur when the cells present in your pancreas may develop mutations in their DNA. Owing to the mutations the cells grow uncontrollably and continue to live after normal cells die. These accumulating cells may form a tumour.


You may not notice any signs until it advances. But, once it advances you may experience blood clots, fatigue, pain in the upper abdomen that radiates to your back, loss of appetite or unintended weight loss and yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice) along with pain in the upper abdomen which may spread to your back.


It is still not clear what causes pancreatic cancer in most cases. But, experts in the field have identified factors like smoking, that increase your risk of developing the disease.

The treatment

In case you notice symptoms like abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss and other signs then you should immediately consult your expert who will advise you radiation therapy or chemotherapy. In some advanced cases, surgery may also be required. Hence, the treatment may vary from person to person.

Preventive measures

You should cut down on smoking

According to a study published in the journal Pancreatology, smoking is a major established risk factor for pancreatic cancer. The risk of developing pancreatic cancer from smoking cigarettes may depend on the duration and the intensity of smoking as well as the age at which the smoker began smoking. While smoking, nicotine reaches the lungs and is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Longer exposure to nicotine leads to higher nicotine retention in oesophagus, spleen, pancreas and heart. Hence, nicotine and nitrosamine components of cigarette smoke have been shown to reach the pancreas and were found in the pancreatic juice of smokers. Nicotine levels in pancreatic juice are 7 times higher in smokers than in non-smokers.

You should control your weight

According to another study published in the

British Journal of Cancer, the fat tissues in overweight people may produce more hormones and growth factors than those in people of a healthy weight. High levels of some of these hormones along with insulin that is produced in your pancreas, can increase the risk of certain cancers including pancreatic cancer. Hence, carrying your weight around your middle (have a high waist-to-hip ratio) increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

You should be physically active and eat more fruits and vegetables

The guidelines by the American Cancer Society suggest that one should eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Eat other foods from plant sources like cereals, grain products or beans. Try to limit your intake of high-fat foods, particularly from animal sources. You should choose foods low in fat. “You should eat small and frequent meals throughout the day. This will ensure that your body is getting enough calories, protein and nutrients to tolerate treatment. Try to load yourself up with water. Drinking enough fluids during cancer treatment is vital for preventing dehydration. Also, avoid drinking large amounts of caffeinated beverages as caffeine can cause dehydration. Limit your intake of sweets and added sugars as it is not uncommon for individuals with pancreatic cancer to have more difficulty digesting foods high in sugar. Desserts and sweets may have negative effects as they may increase your risk of high blood sugar or blood glucose levels,” says

Ankita Ghag, Clinical Dietician, InBody India.

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