Pancreatic cancer, like any other type of cancer, has no cure. However, early detection can help you keep the condition under control. Here’s a look at what you can do to detect the disease at its initial stages.
Pancreatic Cancer Diagnostic Tests
Visit your doctor for a pancreatic cancer diagnosis when you experience a week or month of symptoms. The most prevalent symptoms of pancreatic cancer include frequent abdominal pain, weight loss, jaundice, and itching. At the medical center, the doctor will:
Carry out a physical exam to detect the presence of a mass in the abdomen, or swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Conduct lab tests to determine if the bile flow is getting blocked
- Inquire about your medical history to determine the nature and location of pain, smoking history, time of onset and other medical problems.
- The doctor will then perform either of the following procedures to determine the extent of cancer and recommend treatment.
Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)
This involves passing a special device (endoscope) and a small needle through the mouth, esophagus and into the first part of the small intestines. This will enable the doctor to view the pancreases on a video screen. The physician may pass surgical instruments known as biopsy forceps through the endoscope to remove tissue for further examination under a microscope.
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
This procedure X-rays the duct that transports bile from the liver to the gallbladder and from the gallbladder to the small intestine.
The doctor places an endoscope through the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and into the first part of the small intestines. A smaller tube gets inserted through the endoscope into the pancreatic ducts. A dye goes into the tube and an X-ray taken.
This involves the removal of a small piece of tissue and examines under a microscope. A biopsy is primarily done to determine if cancer has spread to other organs such as the stomach, liver intestines or lymph nodes. If pancreatic cancer gets detected after these tests, the doctor will most likely recommend the removal of the tumors by surgery.
Some of the groups that are actively involved in raising money and creating pancreatic cancer awareness include:
- The American Cancer Society
- The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
- The National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation
- The Pancreatic Action
Pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. It has the highest mortality rate of all major cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, 94% of pancreatic cancer will succumb to the disease within five years with only a measly 7% surviving for more than five years.
Start Treatment as Early as Possible
The secret to improving your overall wellbeing lies in seeking early treatment. Take CBD oil, for instance. While it cannot cure pancreatic cancer, it can help reduce pain associated with the condition significantly. Make sure that you maintain the recommended dose and don’t overdo it.
On top of that, be sure to attend all the appointments with your doctor without fail. Take one day at a time.