What Is Pancreatic cancer?
The pancreas, a gland located in front of the spine and behind the stomach, produces hormones and digestive juices that regulate the blood sugar. In pancreatic cancer, cancerous (malignant) cells form in the tissues of the pancreas and interfere with its functioning. Like most of the cancers, it is detected late and spreads quite fast.
Pancreatic cancer can of the following types:
- Exocrine tumors: Called adenocarcinomas, these tumors affect the exocrine gland. Such tumors form in the pancreas ducts. Majority of pancreatic tumors belong to this category only.
- Endocrine tumors: Also called neurendocrine tumors or islet cell tumors, these tumors are often benign and less common. These tumors affect the hormone-producing cells.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pancreatic cancer?
Usually, there are no symptoms at early stage of pancreatic cancer. Later stage symptoms are too general and can be confusingly associated with other diseases also. Some common symptoms are:
- Loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss.
- Painless jaundice
- Abdominal discomfort or pain, radiating to the back, back pain
- New onset of diabetes not associated to the weight gain.
- Vomiting, nausea, pale and smelly stools, pain while eating.
What Are The Causes Of Pancreatic cancer?
Though exact causes of pancreatic cancer are not known, but certain factors like the following increase the risk of a person developing it:
- Family history of cancer, inherited gene mutation
- Exposure to cancer causing chemicals/ toxins like working in a chemical factory.
- Cigarette smoking doubles the risk of developing the pancreatic cancer.
- Age: 80% of people who develop pancreatic cancer are between the age 60-80.
- Chronic inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
- Long standing diabetes, obesity.
- Diet high in cholesterol, fried items, meat.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Pancreatic cancer?
Life with cancer is not only traumatic, but can also be life threatening if cancer is not detected early. Though your doctor is the best person to advise the course of treatment (surgery, chemotherapy or radiation or all), there are certain steps you can take to prevent the cancer as well as manage the after cancer life:
- Since chemotherapy results in temporary hair loss, the experience of losing hair is traumatic for all patients. So, you may go for head shave before starting chemotherapy.
- Family members of the patient should keep patient in positive mood, as most of the treatment works on mental condition of the patient. Strong will to survive and determination to sail through are the key factors for the treatment to work.
- Eat small meals, but more frequently.
- Be observant of changes in your stool.
- Sit in upright position for at least one hour after eating your food so that it can digest fully.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Pancreatic cancer?
It is better to avoid risk factors that increase the chances of getting pancreatic cancer. E,g:
- Quit smoking
- Never leave your pancreatic inflammation untreated.
- Avoid being obese, take healthy diet and maintain healthy life style.
What Are The Best Foods For Pancreatic cancer?
- Fruits and vegetables offer the body not only the nutrition, but also antioxidants, that help in fighting the cancer. Eat minimum of five servings of a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables every day.
- Eat protein-rich foods: Protein helps the body repair tissues and cells, and immune system recover from illness. Foods rich in protein are the best foods for the pancreas. Good sources of protein include eggs, lean meats such as fish, chicken, or turkey, beans, low-fat dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and cheese, nuts and nut butter, soy foods.
- Eat healthy fats like seeds, olive oil and avocados.
- Whole grain foods: Whole grain foods are a good source of fiber and carbohydrates, which help keep energy levels up. So, include oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole grain pasta in your meal.
What Are The Worst Foods For Pancreatic cancer?
- Avoid fried foods, foods with high calories.
- Avoid carbonated drinks, red meat.
- Limit added sugars and sweets as they can result in reoccurrence of cancer.
- Avoid, coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, junk foods as they carry no nutritional value.
- Avoid eating any heavy food which is difficult to digest.
What Are The Medicines For Pancreatic cancer?
What Are The Tips To Manage Pancreatic cancer?