Reports from studies conducted in various research institutes are finding new ways of combining different types of radiation therapy with immune therapy to not only treat pancreatic cancer in mice, but also restructure the immune system to ‘remember’ the vaccine that helped fight the disease.
Results show that this combination destroyed pancreatic cells which spread to the other organs such as the liver. The liver is the most common organ which is attacked when one has pancreatic cancer. Studies report that pancreatic cancer is cause for concern as it spreads quickly and is hard to treat.
Surgery may not be an option, especially when pancreatic cancer is at advanced stages. It is located in a very delicate part of the body surrounded by many vital organs which makes surgery not a viable option. Chemotherapy is also not advised because of these same reasons. Besides, it has not been successful in controlling pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic tumors are famed for being extremely difficult to treat for various reasons including some listed previously. Pancreatic cancer destroys other proteins and tissue surrounding it and this now dangerous protein and cells shield the cancer cells from the antibodies sent by the immune system to fight the cancer cells.
This combining of treatment may be the hope that will transform many lives of patients with pancreatic cancer, whereby the treatment could achieve two tasks in one treatment: activate the cells to fight the cancerous ones and also change cells that inhibit the immune system to fight cancerous cells.
SBRT has been used in trials, where large doses of radiation are produced over a short time interval. This prepares the immune system to destroy the cancerous cells. Other drugs are used in the process. However, the side effects are what hold back this type of treatment as they are harsh and the patient requires a lot of care after treatment.
When a loved one opens up about a recent diagnosis of cancer, it can be very hard on those around them. Pancreatic cancer is especially hard to treat, and although patients can be optimistic, it is very hard on them. Some admit they will keep working or carrying out daily tasks as long as they have the energy for it.
Pancreatic cancer is very hard to detect in the body and this makes it very dangerous. You may have pancreatic cancer for a long time and not even know it. It is ranked third in the top five leading cancers among men, with 9 percent of these cases resulting in death.
Pancreatic cancer spreads quickly because of its position in the body. It is located far down in the abdomen and borders other important organs. It is a gland that secretes enzymes which aid in the digestive process and also produces hormones to maintain levels of blood sugar in the body.
Pancreatic tumors spread very quickly and are difficult to treat. These tumors can spread to other organs in the body which is cause for alarm. Even small tumors are extremely dangerous.
Other diseases such as diabetes, severe and inherited pancreatitis, smoking, old age, obesity, and poor diet consisting of high consumption of red and processed meat can also lead to pancreatic cancer.
Early signs of pancreatic cancer include:
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Little to no appetite
There are many types of treatments offered to patients such as chemotherapy and surgery. Tests are being carried out on different combinations of chemotherapy to treat patients with pancreatic cancer before surgery to help eradicate this disease. This is so as to increase the survival rate. Specialists are hoping that in years to come more funding will support this research.
Although these statistics are discouraging, some patients do survive and the survival rate is increasing.
Grief is a natural reaction that comes when you receive your cancer diagnosis. Grief to some patients can last longer or progress into depression. To others, it will improve as time passes by. During this time, you need a lot of care and support from your cancer care team and your loved ones.
A pancreatic cancer diagnosis changes your life suddenly. You will start thinking of the frequent visits you will start making to your new doctors, changing your lifestyle habits and much more.
All these changes can cause grief as you feel the loss of your freedom, your usual routine and the loss of the days you enjoyed better health. Grief comes with a mixture of loneliness, anger, fear, and sadness.
Here are some of the ways you can cope with grief:
- Speak about it openly with your support system – For a pancreatic cancer patient to overcome their grief, they should speak publicly about their grief with their support system. Having a support system of healthcare professionals, caregivers, family and friends and patient advocates is very important. This will help you address and manage your needs. Talking about it openly with your loved ones and cancer care team can help you get the support you need, including finding medicines or strategies that will help you feel better.
- Allow yourself to be helped – It is good to let your support system to help you. Your loved ones can join you on your visits to the doctor, help with cooking or taking care of the household chores.
- Join a support group – Connecting with other cancer survivors will give you the confidence in coping with grief. From their support and encouragement, you will know what to expect and be ready for it beforehand.
- Get educated about pancreatic cancer – Learning all you can about pancreatic cancer will help you feel in control and develop a sense of independence. The more knowledge you get regarding your situation, the more confident you will feel when talking with your cancer care team and making important treatment decisions. Get all the resources you can and study them carefully.
Getting over your grief is quite challenging. But as they say, time heals all wounds. With time, you will overcome your grief and find a way to move on. Always remember to keep all the people in your life closer to you for maximum support.
Pancreatic cancer networks work together to fight pancreatic cancer and save lives. This they do by investing in research, advocacy, clinical initiatives, and patient services. Their efforts are amplified by a network of support to help improve patient outcomes and increase survival rates.
Every year, research is carried out to find better ways of detecting pancreatic cancer while it is still localized. Scientists are working tirelessly to ensure that patients don’t face this disease alone. They also try to create awareness about its symptoms and risk factors. All these they do because of the inspiration they get from donors.
Here is how pancreatic cancer funding helps to transform patient lives:
- Donations toward pancreatic cancer have helped scientists to make significant strides in research to implement clinical trials and develop new treatments for the disease. Through funding, clinical trials have been conducted to help develop precision treatments that will improve patient outcomes and increase the survival rates.
- All donations for pancreatic cancer are geared towards building and sustaining a group of researchers to study the disease and support research from the laboratory to the clinic in order to improve the treatment options.
- Pancreatic cancer funding has helped in research investments, including new large scale endeavors that help to revolutionize pancreatic cancer clinical trials and find better early detection strategies and techniques that will ensure better treatment outcomes.
- More funding goes toward advocating for pancreatic cancer awareness. It is used to fund national pancreatic cancer advocacy days and panels that discuss significant progresses and challenges in the field. It also helps to raise awareness about the disease, its symptoms, and risk factors.
Every year, the urgency to end pancreatic cancer continues to rise, and so do the statistics.
For the past four years, the five-year survival rate for the disease has gone up by 9 percent as of today. If this keeps on, the goal of doubling pancreatic cancer survival by the year 2020 will be achieved.
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.