Because EARLY detection saves lives...
This November is Pancreatic Cancer awareness Month and Smeaton Healthcare will be doing their bit. On Thursday 7th November 2019 between 11:00 and 14:00 we will be hosting a coffee morning in honor of Dawn O'Connor and all those who have battled with Pancreatic Cancer.
What is the pancreas?
The pancreas is part of the digestive system. It does two main things.
It makes pancreatic juices which contain substances called enzymes. These enzymes help to break down food so the body can absorb it. The pancreatic juices flow down a tube called the pancreatic duct, which runs the length of the pancreas and empties into the duodenum (the first part of the small intestines).The pancreas also makes hormones, including insulin, which control sugar levels in the blood.
What is pancreatic cancer?
Normal healthy cells grow in a carefully controlled way. Pancreatic cancer develops when cells in the pancreas grow out of control, forming a lump (tumour). This can happen in the head, body or tail of the pancreas.
There are different types of pancreatic cancer:
- About 95 out of 100 pancreatic cancers (95%) are called exocrine tumours. These start in the cells that make enzymes (exocrine cells). Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is the most common type of exocrine tumour.
- It starts in the cells lining the pancreatic duct. About 80 out of 100 of all pancreatic cancers (80%) are pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Endocrine tumours (also called neuroendocrine tumours or NETs) are a less common type of pancreatic cancer.
- They start in the cells that make hormones in the pancreas (endocrine cells). Fewer than 5 in 100 (5%) of all pancreatic cancers are neuroendocrine tumours.
- Exocrine and neuroendocrine cancers behave differently and are treated differently. - Most of our information is about exocrine tumours.
Signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer often doesn’t cause any signs or symptoms in the early stages. This can make it hard to diagnose early. As the cancer grows, it may start to cause symptoms. The symptoms and how bad they are can vary for each person.
It’s important to remember that symptoms described here can be caused by more common things.
They can also be caused by conditions such as pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or hepatitis (inflammation of the liver).
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of pancreatic cancer can be quite vague and may come and go to begin with. They may depend on where the cancer is in the pancreas, and you may not have all of these symptoms.
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