Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of your pancreas — an organ in your abdomen that lies horizontally behind the lower part of your stomach. Your pancreas releases enzymes that aid digestion and hormones that help manage your blood sugar.
What is it?
Pancreatic cancer occurs within the tissues of the pancreas, which is a vital endocrine organ located behind the stomach. The pancreas plays an essential role in digestion by producing enzymes that the body needs to digest fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
In pancreatic cancer, cancer cells in the pancreas grow and multiply quickly, which can cause a tumor to grow. … It may also have spread to the lymph nodes and the organs and tissues found near the pancreas. The effect of this tumor on the body depends on where the tumor is, how it has spread, and how large it is.
It's not clear what causes pancreatic cancer in most cases. Doctors have identified factors, such as smoking, that increase your risk of developing the disease.
How to Identify?
Early diagnosis significantly increases the chances of recovery. That’s why it’s best to visit your doctor if you’re experiencing any symptoms that won’t go away or recur regularly.
To make a diagnosis, your doctor will review your symptoms and medical history.
- Pain in the upper abdomen that radiates to your back
- Loss of appetite or unintended weight loss
- New-onset diabetes
- Blood clots
- Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
What to Do?
You may reduce your risk of pancreatic cancer if you:
- Stop smoking. If you smoke, try to stop. Talk to your doctor about strategies to help you stop, including support groups, medications and nicotine replacement therapy. If you don't smoke, don't start.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you are at a healthy weight, work to maintain it. If you need to lose weight, aim for a slow, steady weight loss — 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week. Combine daily exercise with a diet rich in vegetables, fruit and whole grains with smaller portions to help you lose weight.
- Choose a healthy diet. A diet full of colorful fruits and vegetables and whole grains may help reduce your risk of cancer.