Published on August 2nd, 2013 | by Tom0
What Is Pancreatic Cancer? Causes & Symptoms
These days, cancer is one of the most common kinds of diseases that are inflicting majority of the human race. Cancer is often characterized by cell growth that is way beyond anyone’s control and this can happen to any part of your body, including your pancreas.
When this abnormal cell growth happens in your pancreas, then it can divide the tissues and form several lumps that are eventually called as tumors. These tumors hinder the primary functions of your important organ. If it happens to stay in just a single spot and grows limitedly, then it is called benign. It is the malignant tumors that are considered more dangerous as it can spread out to other parts of your body through your blood.
This can lead to destroying your body’s other healthy tissues. This process is termed as metastasized and it is such a challenge to treat. When it comes to pancreatic cancer, it is essential that it be classified whether it is affecting the endocrine or the exocrine functions of the pancreas. Those that affect its exocrine functions is what’s more common and these are the tumors that are usually benign.
The more uncommon ones are those that affect the endocrine roles of the organ. It is called as islet cell tumors. When they are recognized as non-functioning tumors, then they are more possibly malignant.
image source jhu.edu
The normal cells in your body go through the usual process of growing, dividing and then leading to death. But with cancer cells, it can grow beyond your control and they do not die. Even if numerous scientists cannot detect the exact causes of such cell behavior, there are risk factors that they have identified in the process.
Carcinogens are one of the major causes that are often related to cancer. It is defined as a class of substances that are blamed for DNA damage which promotes and aids cancer. There are products like chemicals, dyes and pesticides that are recognized as carcinogenic which can increase your risk of having pancreatic cancer. Once your body is exposed to such carcinogens, there are free radicals which build up that rob your body off electrons. All these free radicals can damage your healthy cells and even hinder them to act normal. Hence, the growth of your cells turns out to be cancerous.
Age can also be a major cause for pancreatic cancer. According to studies, a higher possibility of cancer causing mutations happens within your DNA’s system. Research and medical studies say that pancreatic cancer is most likely to affect those who are way beyond 60 years of age. Other diseases can also lead to this cancer like cirrhosis or more commonly known as the situation which your liver is deeply scarred. There are also the gingivitis, periodontal diseases and even chronic pancreatitis or diabetes mellitus.
You can be more prone too with this kind of cancer if you smoke cigarettes. This goes true too for those who do not do much exercise and are prone to obesity. Poor kind of diet and meals can make you also be prone to pancreatic cancer especially if you eat too much red meat or other fatty foods instead of luxuriating in healthy fruits and vegetables. Many alcoholic drinkers have also gotten this disease since heavy drinking can be one major cause of chronic pancreatitis.
image source nih
Symptoms for cancer can be varied and it sometimes depends on where it is found, how big the tumor is and if it has spread already. Since pancreatic cancer shows not so specific symptoms and seldom shows early signs, it has been named as the ‘silent’ type of cancer. Its tumors are relatively small to even show solid symptoms. But once it grows, the following can be observed and experienced:
- When the tumor pushes against your nerves, then you can feel pain in the upper part of your abdomen.
- Yellowing of the skin can be gradually observed along with the darkened shade of your urine, especially once the cancer hinders the function of your liver and bile duct.
- Nausea, vomiting
- Sudden weight loss and unexplainable weakness
- Grey shade of stool and excess fat
Featured image source cnio