Cancer of the pancreas is often one of the most devastating diagnoses a person can receive. Thankfully, through advances in treatments, this cancer is more easily and effectively treated. Those who have been diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas need to be aware of what to expect during treatment so they can start the fight.
Cancer of the Pancreas Is Deadly
Pancreatic cancer has a frightening survival rate of only 5% for five years. Although this percentage is undoubtedly dismal, there is still hope and plenty of fight in most cancer patients. As treatments continue to evolve, patients are living much longer. Because there are multiple avenues for treatment, patients must be active participants in their treatment plan. They must pursue the latest and best treatments for a higher level of success at fighting this disease.
Advances in Radiation Therapy Are Helping to Fight Cancer of the Pancreas
Cancer therapy has come a long way over the years. One of the advancements is found in radiation therapy. It is clear with many cancers that radiation therapy is an essential part of treatment. Precise treatments target the pancreas and fight the cancer right where it is growing. Radiation therapy can now be used to target increasingly specific areas on the pancreas to ensure the treatments are effective and efficient at delivering a lethal dose of destruction to all cancer cells growing in the pancreas of the patient.
Surgery Is Also an Option
Not every patient is a good candidate for cancer surgery of the pancreas. Several imaging studies must be conducted, along with further testing, to ensure the cancer is not metastatic and does not have vascular components that make it likely to spread. If there is no vascularity, the patient may have the option of going through resection surgery.
Resectioning is done to remove a pancreatic tumor. The procedure must be carried out precisely and is done in multiple ways depending on the side where the tumor lies. A left-sided pancreas resection is called a Distal Pancreatectomy. A right-sided pancreas resection is called a Whipple or Pancreaticoduodenectomy.
It is also important to note that the pancreas can be removed in its entirety. A person can live without this organ. Because the pancreas performs specific actions that are essential for life, patients who have this organ removed will require a lifetime of medication. The patient will automatically become diabetic and will need to rely on insulin to control their blood sugar levels. They will also need to take digestive enzymes with all their meals because the pancreas will no longer be there to produce these enzymes.
Do Not Give Up Hope!
Yes, a cancer diagnosis is scary, especially when it is in the pancreas. With the latest advancements in medical science, there are now more treatment options for cancer patients than ever. This form of cancer is most easily treated when it is found early. This is why it is so essential individuals see their doctors regularly and report any concerning symptoms right away.
Cancer of the pancreas is a tough cancer to beat, but it is not hopeless. Those who have been diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas need to explore the many treatment options available to them, including alternative therapies. Often, the best way to overcome any cancer is to use a multifaceted treatment approach that is highly targeted and relentless.