Pancreatic Cancer

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pancreatic cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the pancreas. It is the fourth-leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about pancreatic cancer in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Pancreatic cancer is a serious disease and is the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.

The pancreas is a gland that lies deep in the abdomen behind the stomach, near the intestines and in front of the spine. It is responsible for producing juices that help digest food and for making hormones such as insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels. Because of its location, pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect.

Signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:

Jaundiceyellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes

Unintended weight loss

Abdominal pain

Back pain, and

Loss of appetite

Surgery is the first choice for treating pancreatic cancer. However, for many patients surgery is not possible due to the location of the cancer or advanced stage of the disease. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be used to kill cancer cells after surgery or at times when surgery is not possible.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.