A recent study has revealed that pancreatic cancer cells quickly change their location in the body. They move to other organs, increasing the odds of pancreatic cancer death. The study revealed that pancreatic tumors generate more perlecan to modify the environment around them. This allows cancer cells to spread to other organs while protecting them against chemotherapy.
The research also indicated that decreased levels of perlecan reduces the spread of cancer and increases the body’s response to chemotherapy.
Pancreatic cancer is aggressive, usually making the tumor inoperable once discovered. There are two critical approaches to treating pancreatic cancer believed to increase the efficiency of chemotherapy and lower tumor spread.
Spotlight on the Tumor Matrix
An investigation to stop pancreatic cells from regeneration is done through a close look on fibroblasts. Researchers discovered that metastatic tumors produce more levels of fibroblasts than non-metastatic tumors. The discovery is that pancreatic cancer cells manifest depending on the shape of the tissue around them.
Using gene-editing technology, we can reduce the level of perlecan and use advanced imaging techniques to track pancreatic cancer cells. This will reduce the spread of cancer and increase the tumor’s response to chemotherapy and other treatments.
There is hope if fibroblasts are targeted correctly through targeting cancer cells concurrently. If fibroblasts and harboring genetic changes get targeted, they will get susceptible, thus making treatment much more comfortable.
If perlecan and other matrix molecules that aid in metastatic tumors are targeted, treatment will be valid for not only pancreatic cancer but also prostate and breast cancers. Most cancer therapies focus on the cancer cells themselves, leaving the location of the tumor potentially untapped. Thus, further research is required to treat the disease quickly.
In sum, pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest diseases. Its signs rarely show early, causing the cancer cells to spread quickly. Your physician should check the rate of spread when diagnosing the condition, and advise on effective treatment options.
Cysts are abnormal membrane sacs in the body that contain fluid. The pancreas is an essential organ since it produces enzymes that play a role in digestion. It also secretes insulin that regulates metabolism.
It’s rare for cysts to form in the pancreas and if they do, they are typically noncancerous. Cysts often originate from different conditions, such as inflammation, and their treatment is different.
How to find pancreatic cysts
Cysts rarely have signs and symptoms, making them difficult to find. In most cases, a scan is used to discover cysts. Cysts might cause abdominal pains or lead to the development of jaundice. If detected, take cysts seriously and discuss a possible treatment plan with the doctor.
The link between cysts and pancreatic cancer
A percentage of pancreatic cysts contain a mucus-like substance called mucin which can lead to blockage of the pancreatic duct. Cysts containing mucin have a high potential of being malignant, especially if they are large with thick walls when observed through imaging. A scan alone cannot reveal cysts because some have solid and liquid components. You will need a biopsy to tell whether pancreatic cysts have malignant cells.
Treating pancreatic cysts
It is not necessary to remove cysts. Those with benign cells have no high-risk feature; thus, you will only need simple follow-ups after imaging. Imaging follow-up tests should occur after every six months. High-risk cysts can be removed through surgery, but first, you should know the risks involved, including age, health, and the nature of cells found during biopsy.
It’s critical to consult with specialists before deciding what to do next because not all pancreatic cysts are cancerous. Visit a cancer center to do imaging and have a medical report generated. If the cysts are found to be harmful, then you will need to have them removed.
You can create a difference in the lives of many people through donating. Your $10 can support in building a health facility, sponsor researchers and doctors to seek further medical education or help reduce the cost of treatment.Ways through which you can donate:
- Leave a legacy – You can make a lasting impact on future patients by including a research center in your bequest, will or financial plan.
- Partnership – You can receive gifts by giving annual donations. Receive free cancer checks for any contribution you make above $1,000. You can also offer your services to help in caring for cancer patients, provide them with moral support, and give them hope.
- Monthly donations – You can join a circle that donates monthly. Through monthly contributions, you can give hope and improve the lives of patients every month.
- Host fundraising – You can create fundraising in your name. You can do this on your page and invite family and friends to donate.
- Honor a loved one – you may have lost your loved one due to lack of enough financing or medical care. Empower others today by creating a personalized tribute page in your loved one’s name and ask friends, colleagues, and family to donate. You will have honored your loved ones by ensuring other people benefit.
- Utilize workplace giving programs – You can register with your workplace donation program. Check with your employer and subscribe to various donation programs that match with you.
- Shop purple – Show pride by wearing purple to any event and encourage people to donate.
Donations to a patient, caregiver or research gives hope and confidence for a bright future. Make someone smile today.
With a five-year survival rate of less than 10 percent and nearly 53,000 new cases diagnosed in the United States each year, pancreatic cancer is a real concern for many. Known to kill about 41,000 Americans annually, this form of cancer is among the deadliest. Courtesy of the location of the pancreas deep inside the body, the disease often goes undetected until long after it has begun to spread. This is complicated by very few symptoms at its onset, making early detection difficult, if not impossible, in many cases.
Researchers believe they may have found a way to better identify those who are at high-risk for the development of this disease.
Findings in a similar vein may hold the key to more accurate early detection. The findings come from studies related to the oral germs found in the mouths of pancreatic cancer. The studies found that two particular germs served as strong markers for risk. Patients who presented with one of the two oral bacterium had a 59 percent higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer than those with the second. Those with the second were about 50 percent prone to already have pancreatic cancer, studies have found.
The findings shed light on a marker that may at some point down the road serve as an early predictor for pancreatic cancer. In turn, researchers say that preventative measures can be taken to help patients at higher risk avoid the disease. Whether the findings will lead to more widespread screening tools remains to be seen. Regardless, researchers suggest the findings to point to the need for good oral hygiene and routine dental check-ups.
Pancreatic cancer continues to have one of the lowest survival rates of all forms of cancer. Researchers, however, are working hard to make advances. The connection between oral health and pancreatic cancer may someday serve as a valuable marker to give patients a chance to prevent this disease before it takes root.
Any cancer treatment can cause side effects. Proper medical care will lessen the impacts of the side effects. Before undergoing any pancreatic cancer treatment, ask your doctor about potential side effects to learn how they may affect you. Update your doctor if you start experiencing side effects so they can help you to relieve or reduce those effects.
- Fatigue – often caused by an extreme lack of energy. Most pancreatic cancer patients experience this effect. The level of fatigue differs from one person to another.
- Nausea and vomiting – if you are undergoing chemotherapy, then you will most likely experience nausea and vomiting. Specific treatments also have these effects. The effects might happen immediately after surgery or several days after.
- Stool changes – these treatments affect your digestive system leading to constipation or diarrhea. Some of these effects will make your stool change in color.
- Mouth sores – some treatments produce sores on the lips, tongue, gums, or the surface of the mouth.
- Neuropathy – This is a side effect that develops numbness, burning in the hands and feet, tingling, and constipation.
- Pain – Some treatments subject patients to extreme pressure and pain. Some of these treatments are radiation therapy, surgery, and chemotherapy.
- Skin and nail changes – changes such as inflammation may occur during treatment. Certain treatments cause redness, dryness, tenderness, and peeling of soles and palms.
- Taste and Appetite changes – Surgery and treatments such as immunotherapy, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy can cause changes in how food tastes. Patients also may develop a poor appetite that can make them lose weight.
Pancreatic cancer treatment, just like any other treatment, can cause mild to severe side effects. Your help care team will help you manage these side effects, although most of them are common among patients. Anytime you feel overwhelmed, seek medical attention.
Pancreatic cancer and its treatment can cause physical challenges that need to be addressed. It is important that patients discuss their symptoms and side effects with the cancer care team to ensure supportive care. Healthcare professionals can help with symptom management and palliative care to help improve outcomes.
Supportive care makes patients comfortable and helps to preserve their quality of life as well as their overall wellbeing during and after their pancreatic cancer treatment. It is therefore crucial that patients take care of their overall health by dealing with the physical challenges from the disease.
Some of the challenges that need supportive care include:
- Ascites – Ascites occur when there is extra fluid in a patient’s abdomen. They develop mostly when the cancer has affected the lymphatic system, liver or abdominal lining. This causes swelling and stretching out of the belly. Supportive care techniques like diuretics (water pills) and paracentesis can help.
- Jaundice – The buildup of bilirubin in one’s body causes jaundice. Jaundice can affect some patients with pancreatic cancer by causing yellowing of the eyes and skin, light or clay-colored stool, dark urine and itching. This can be helped using supportive care techniques such as bypass surgery or using a stent.
- Pain – Most pancreatic cancer patients feel pain in the mid-back or belly due to blocking of the digestive tract by the tumor. The tumor can also push against organs or nerves. Pain can also be caused by radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery. Palliative care can help to manage the pain early by offering non-drug approaches as well as prescription medications.
- Nutrition – Good nutrition can help pancreatic cancer patients to tolerate treatment and also maintain a healthy weight. Sometimes pancreatic cancer, its medications or surgery can cause poor appetite or affect the ability of the patient to break down nutrients. Supportive care can help to plan meals and find out if pancreatic enzymes can help. Proper nutrition also helps to manage the side effects of pancreatic cancer.
Every pancreatic cancer patient experiences unique physical challenges for their condition. Talking to the healthcare team about your symptoms and side effects can help them feel better throughout their treatment.
Pancreatic cancer only presents symptoms at later stages when it is difficult to treat. More than 50,000 people in America are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year. Even after diagnosis, getting effective treatment for pancreatic cancer becomes difficult because it is often too late.
Researchers are exploring options that can improve the survival rates of pancreatic cancer and also help preserve the quality of life of the patients. A new drug combination known as FOLFIRINOX was studied and found to have longer survival probability and offer better surgical options for patients.
- The reason why pancreatic cancer is very lethal is because of its resistance to chemotherapy. But oncologists are trying to find out whether FOLFIRINOX, which is a combination of cancer drugs can improve the outcomes in patients with borderline resectable pancreatic cancer. When pancreatic cancer is borderline resectable, it means that the tumor cannot be removed safely because it’s too close to a blood vessel.
- Pancreatic tumors are often very close to important blood vessels and can only be removed through surgery or be shrunk to make them resectable. During a study on patients with borderline resectable pancreatic cancer who were treated with FOLFIRINOX, researchers found that FOLFIRINOX prolonged their lives by making surgery possible.
- Most of the cancers studied responded well to FOLFIRINOX, and the tumors were completely removed through successful surgery without affecting the nearby veins. The patients survived for more than 22 months overall.
With better drugs, pancreatic cancer treatment has improved. But despite the good news, pancreatic cancer is still the fourth deadliest cancer in the world. Scientists are still pursuing more studies and experiments in full spectrum research to identify solutions that will provide better outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer. There is hope that they will come up with lasting solutions and FFOLFIRINOX is just the beginning.
About fifty pancreatic organizations from all parts of the world converged to Coral Gables, Florida to attend the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition’s annual meeting held from 7th to 9th May 2019.
The World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition’s purpose is to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer across the globe. The coalition also aims to strengthen the capacity of their efforts to create a powerful impact globally. Launched in May 2016, the coalition has recorded several achievements in their quest to raise awareness and help to enhance the best practices for pancreatic cancer treatments.
During the convention:
- The members shared their expertise and experience regarding better ways of achieving transformational change for pancreatic cancer patients. They discussed the coalition’s achievements, the global scientific perspective of pancreatic cancer, and the newest best practices used in treating pancreatic cancer and other topics.
- The founding member of the coalition, Julie Fleshman, stressed that sharing the best practices about pancreatic cancer and learning from other members is very crucial to improving patient outcomes. She implied that the more members came together to share, the faster there will be progress in pancreatic cancer patient outcomes.
- There was also a live panel discussion about pancreatic cancer science from a global perspective. Various WPCC members served as moderators and panelists of the live presentation that was streamed on Facebook Live.
- The meeting also hosted in-depth workshops that saw all members sharing the new best practices for treating pancreatic cancer. Topics like understanding clinical trials and supporting patients with pancreatic cancer were also included.
Pancreatic cancer is still among the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States. The predictions about its diagnosis and mortality rate statistics are still alarming. The WPCC member organizations plan to continue meeting to learn from each other and work together to implement strategies that will help to overcome pancreatic cancer.
The pancreas secretes insulin and other digestive enzymes in the body. It helps to break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. A pancreatic cancer patient requires proper nutrition during and after treatment. The nutritional goal of a patient with pancreatic cancer should be to get adequate calories, vitamins, fluids, minerals, and proteins every day in order to maintain a healthy weight and muscle mass.
Diarrhea is one of the side effects experienced by pancreatic cancer patients. This may come as a result of pancreatic enzyme insufficiency, bacterial overgrowth, dumping resection or lactose intolerance. Making a healthy choice by maintaining good nutrition can help to minimize the treatment side effects of pancreatic cancer. It can also help patients to recover from surgery and maintain quality of life.
However, some foods can cause discomfort to patients. Such foods should be avoided by patients, and they include:
- Foods that are high in fats, including whole milk, rich foods, high-fat cheeses or meats, among others.
- Fast foods, foods with added margarine, butter, oil, cream cheese, sour cream, full salad dressing, and also fried foods.
- Refined foods or carbohydrates that contain high fructose corn syrup or sucrose, especially if the patient has dumping syndrome.
- Spicy foods that contain hot peppers, onions, or garlic.
- Foods high in fiber
- If lactose intolerant, avoid dairy and milk products.
- Soft drinks, coffee, and tea.
Patients with multiple side effects may experience difficulty in deciding the best food to eat. Keeping a diary of your daily food consumption and the symptoms to watch out for will help to monitor the patterns of foods that worsen the symptoms, those that neutralize the symptoms and those that make their situation better. A registered dietitian’s advice is vital in this case.
Each pancreatic cancer patient has individualized nutritional needs. It is wise to liaise with the doctor or dietician before making changes to your diet.
Pancreatic cancer spreads quietly and owing to the position of the pancreas behind the stomach, any tumors can easily go undetected during regular scans. This means that many times, doctors find patients with pancreatic cancer that has metastasized to different parts outside the pancreas. Diagnosing cancer at this stage leaves about 20 percent of patients eligible for surgery. The others may become eligible later on after treatment depending on whether it is locally advanced or borderline resectable.
Patients diagnosed with metastatic disease, which means the cancer has already spread to other organs, are not eligible for surgery. A recent study may change this after it looked at whether and when a pancreatic cancer patient can qualify for surgery. The study gave insightful information about surgery and its outcomes as such:
- The study gave three criteria that would improve the chance of successful surgery for patients with locally-advanced or borderline-resectable pancreatic cancer.
- They identified chemotherapy as the most effective method to use before finally getting to surgery. Increased chemotherapy rounds gave better results. Chemotherapy comes with notable side effects and not every patient will be able to handle it in high volumes. Some tumors also don’t respond effectively to chemotherapy.
- To check whether the chemotherapy worked, the study used PET scans and tested for CA19-9 blood tumor markers, ensuring they were at normal levels before going ahead with surgery. PET scans give a markedly more accurate prediction of response to surgery.
The results make for encouraging news for those patients that fit the criteria and can handle the voracity that comes with chemotherapy. It brings the possibility of extended lives to the fore. It is therefore important to remember that this treatment method may not be for everyone, based on the guidelines given. It would be useful to first find out whether the patient would benefit from surgery before subjecting them to an unnecessary invasive procedure.