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Pancreatic Cancer

Advanced Digestive Care

Gastroenterologists located in Clearwater, FL

No one likes to think about getting cancer, but undergoing screening tests and acting quickly if you have any symptoms is vital. If you need pancreatic cancer screening or have symptoms of the disease, the team at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, Florida, can help. Pancreatic cancer can ravage your health, so don’t take any chances. Call Advanced Digestive Care today to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment using the online tool.

Pancreatic Cancer Q & A

What is pancreatic cancer?

Pancreatic cancer affects your pancreas, which is an organ that plays a vital role in digestion.

The pancreas produces enzymes to help you digest food efficiently and releases the hormone insulin that regulates blood sugar.

Cancers develop when your cells start to mutate. Instead of following the normal life cycle of a cell, cancer cells grow out of control and don’t die, clumping together to form a mass called a tumor.

Pancreatic cancer typically forms in cells lining the pancreatic ducts and is called pancreatic adenocarcinoma or pancreatic exocrine cancer. Less common are pancreatic cancers that develop in the cells that produce hormones. These rarer cancers are called pancreatic endocrine cancer, pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, and islet cell tumors.

The reasons why some people develop pancreatic cancer aren’t clear, but it is a disease that’s more likely to affect you if you smoke, have diabetes, or have a family history of pancreatic cancer.

What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer?

People who have pancreatic cancer often don’t experience any symptoms until the advanced stages of the disease. At this point, you might have symptoms such as:

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Pain radiating to your back
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice
  • New-onset diabetes
  • Blood clots

These symptoms also occur in other conditions, so try not to be too alarmed if you’re experiencing any of them. Visit Advanced Digestive Care as soon as you can to find out what’s causing your symptoms.

What factors determine the best treatment for pancreatic cancer?

The treatment you need for pancreatic cancer depends on how advanced the cancer is and other factors like your age and whether you have any other health problems.

Your provider at Advanced Digestive Care might recommend that you take supplements containing pancreatic enzymes to help your digestion, as the cancer is likely to affect your ability to absorb nutrients from your food.

 If you have jaundice, which causes a yellowing of your skin and eyes, your provider might suggest you undergo a procedure called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP).

The ERCP procedure involves passing a slim, flexible tube called an endoscope down your esophagus and into the top section of your intestine. Your provider then inserts another tube called a catheter into the endoscope, using it to inject a special dye into your bile and pancreatic ducts.

Once the dye is circulating your provider at Advanced Digestive Care can take images of the ducts. This enables them to fix a small metal or plastic tube called a stent into the bile duct. The stent holds the duct open so bile can enter your system and reverse jaundice.

Other treatments for pancreatic cancer aim to reduce or destroy the tumor and control any pain. These treatments could include:

  • Pain medications
  • Celiac plexus nerve block
  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy

If you’re concerned about pancreatic cancer or wish to undergo a screening test, call Advanced Digestive Care today, or book an appointment online.