Pancreatic Cancer – Symptoms & Risk Factors
Pancreatic cancer occurs when a malignant tumour arises in the pancreas. It generally affects people around the age of 70, and there are roughly 3,38,000 new cases every year. It occurs both in men and women.
Pancreatic cancer is primarily of two kinds – exocrine tumours and endocrine tumours. the vast majority (upto 90%) of pancreatic cancers are exocrine tumours which are formed by the cells of ducts which line the pancreas. These are called pancreatic ductaladenocarcinomas. Other pancreatic exocrine tumours occur more rarely, and include adenosquamous carcinomas and undifferentiated carcinomas.
Endocrine tumours (aka neuroendocrine tumours) are far less common, and sometimes produce hormones like glucagon and insulin. While they are a manifestation of pancreatic cancer, they occur in the endocrine glands, and can thus appear anywhere in the body.
There are no specific causes for pancreatic cancer, but there are certain elements that put you at greater risk of developing it.
- Pancreatitis- Chronic inflammation of the pancreas
- Genetic predisposition to cancer risks
- Age – People above 65 are at a higher risk
The symptoms of pancreatic cancer often don’t show up clearly until it has advanced to a late stage. However, you _can_ keep an eye out for the following signs:
- Pain beginning in your upper abdomen and radiating towards your back
- Unexpected or unintentional weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Unusual fatigue
- Poor digestion
None of these symptoms guarantee the presence of pancreatic cancer, but if you/ someone you know is experiencing them along with the risk factors mentioned above, it’s worth getting a professional medical opinion.