Pancreatic Cancer

What is Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer is a malignant tumor within the pancreatic gland. Each year about 60,000 individuals in Europe are diagnosed with this condition. Depending on the extent of the tumor at the time of diagnosis, the prognosis is generally regarded as poor, with few victims still alive five years after diagnosis, and complete remission still extremely rare.

What are the Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer?

Like most cancers, pancreatic cancer usually produces no symptoms until it is advanced. Symptoms that may arise are:

  • Weight loss with abdominal pain (these are the common signs).
  • Gradually worsening abdominal pain .
  • Diarrhoea, constipation, gas pains, bloating, or belching.
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite.
  • Jaundice.
  • Sudden onset of diabetes.
  • Black or bloody stool.

What are the Causes of Pancreatic Cancer?

The main risk factors are:

  • Ageing.
  • Smoking is the main risk factor for pancreatic cancer; a smoker is three times more likely than a non smoker to acquire the disease.
  • Exposure to certain petroleum products may also increase risk.
  • Excessive dietary fat and protein may promote the disease.
  • Diabetes is also linked to pancreatic cancer.
  • Hereditary pancreatitis.
  • Gardner’s syndrome.
  • Neurofibromatosis.
  • and multiple endocrine.

Traditional Medical Treatments for Pancreatic Cancer

Because most cases of pancreatic cancer are advanced when diagnosed, cure is rarely a realistic goal. Treatment usually aims to extend survival and relieve uncomfortable symptoms. Surgery is only an option if the cancer has not spread beyond the pancreas. Other options for patients are radiation or chemotherapy treatments, and medication to help control the pain.

Complementary/Alternative Treatments for Pancreatic Cancer

There are ways to learn to control pain and this is where the alternative therapies may help. Besides taking prescription medication, patients can try pain control through massage, acupuncture, as well as relaxation techniques.