What is Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive form of cancer that develops and grows in the cells of the pancreas. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2019, an estimated 56,770 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

The pancreas is an organ in your lower abdomen that lies horizontally behind the lower part of your stomach. Your liver, intestine, spleen, and stomach surround your pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for producing enzymes that help digestion and hormones that control blood-sugar levels. Like any cancer, pancreatic cancer starts when cells in the body grow out of control.

What Are The Symptoms?

Early detection of pancreatic cancer is often difficult to catch as this cancer does not typically present any signs or symptoms.  As the cancer grows larger, you may notice one or more of these common symptoms:

  • Dark urine, pale stools, and yellow skin and eyes from jaundice
  • Pain in the upper part of your belly
  • Pain in the middle part of your back that doesn’t go away when you shift your position
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue or loss of appetite

These symptoms may be caused by pancreatic cancer or by other health problems. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we urge you to speak with your doctor immediately so that these problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

What Are The Risk Factors?

Studies have found the following risk factors for cancer of the pancreas:

  • Tobacco use
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Family history of pancreatitis

Eating a healthy diet, keeping a healthy weight, and exercising frequently will not only improve your overall health but can also reduce your risk of other health problems.

How is Pancreatic Cancer Treated?

Pancreatic cancer is treated based on its stage or how far it has spread in the body. Your overall health will affect treatment options. If you have symptoms that suggest cancer of the pancreas, your doctor will try to find out what’s causing the problems by performing a physical exam, CT scan, or Ultrasound.

Meet Your Middle Tennessee Surgical Oncologists here or to learn more about Surgical Oncology from  Dr. Patrick S. Wolf and Dr. Richard J. Geer, click here.

Book Your Appointment Today

Surgical Oncology is a specialty area of practice at The Surgical Clinic, a multi-specialty surgical practice with offices conveniently located throughout Middle Tennessee. For more information or to make an appointment, visit our website here.