About Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers and 7% of all cancer deaths in the United States. Pancreatic cancer is usually not found until it has advanced to later stages because it is difficult to detect, and it occurs slightly more often in men than in women. Pancreatic cancer is most often associated with smoking, obesity, diabetes, family history and exposure to certain carcinogeous chemicals such as those used in dry cleaning and metal work.
The pancreas is a small gland located behind the stomach that aids in food digestion and regulating blood sugar levels. The pancreas makes insulin and glucagon, two hormones that control blood sugar levels. Pancreatic cancer occurs when pancreas cells mutate and multiply, resulting in a mass of tissue. In some cases, this mass can be non-cancerous, but in pancreatic cancer, the mass is malignant or cancerous.
Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer symptoms include jaundice, back and abdominal pain, loss of appetite, weight loss, itchy skin, blood clots, new or worsening diabetes, discoloration of urine or stools, and fatigue. Because the pancreas is not easily accessible during a physical examination, pancreatic cancer is usually detected by a series of tests after several symptoms present. These tests can include imaging, endoscopic ultrasound, ultrasound-guided biopsy, or a blood test to detect the presence of a tumor marker or high levels of carbohydrate antigen, which is a protein released by pancreatic cancer cells.
Tampa Bay Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
Specific treatment for pancreatic cancer depends on the size and location of the tumor, how advanced it is, how healthy the patient is and whether it has spread to other areas of the body. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and ablation or embolization. The type of radiation most often used to treat pancreatic cancer is external beam radiation therapy, but Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology offers several state-of-the-art options for pancreatic cancer treatment, such as intensity modulated radiation therapy, image guided radiation therapy, and CyberKnife® radiotherapy.
Contact Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology today for more information about pancreatic cancer and pancreatic cancer treatment options. Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology has multiple Florida facilities located in the Tampa Bay area in Tampa and Brandon.