The pancreas is located behind the stomach and plays an important role to regulate digestion and blood sugar. If this organ starts malfunctioning is may be very difficult to be detected. That’s because it’s located deep into the abdomen.
There is a dangerous disease that is related to the pancreas. That is pancreatic cancer which is the fourth most deadly cancer for people in the United States. The symptoms of pancreatic cancer are very hard to detect. Up until the tumor has grown past operable size and the risk factors are obesity and smoking.
There also exist some warning signs that are helping with early detection. If you experience these symptoms, and your family has a history of this disease, consult with a doctor immediately.
Pancreatic cancer is a result of abnormal cell growth inside the pancreas that causes a tumor. There are two types of cells in the pancreas. Exocrine cells which secrete enzymes that help digestion and endocrine cells that secrete hormones such as insulin and glucagon.
There are two types of pancreatic cancer that can manifest very differently. Pancreatic exocrine tumors that account for about 94 percent of the pancreatic cancers. And pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors which make the other 6 percent of the pancreatic cancers.
THE SYMPTOMS OF PANCREATIC EXOCRINE CANCER
This symptom if manifested with yellowing around the eyes and the skin. This is because of the build-up of bilirubin due to blockage of the common bile duct. The tumors that are formed inside the pancreas are close to the bile duct. It presses on it which will cause a blockage and when cancer has spread outside the pancreas it will move quickly to the liver. Which in turn will cause jaundice. Just before the eyes and the skin become noticeably yellow, jaundice may be identified by gray or greasy colored stools, darker urine, and itchy skin.
Weight loss, pain, vomiting, and nausea
When this type of cancer grows larger it will press the other organs in the abdomen which will most often be painful or will make very difficult for food to pass through and this will, in turn, lead to nausea, vomiting, and pain which increases after eating. Moreover, this cancer’s sufferers will experience unexplained weight loss and have no appetite, and when it starts to spread it will spread to the nervous surroundings which are around it causing severe back pain.
It often causes both deep vein thrombosis identified by redness, swelling, and warmth in the large veins of the legs and also pulmonary embolism that will occur when a clot will make its way to the lungs and causes chest pain and difficulty breathing.
Fatty tissue abnormalities
If the pancreas is functioning normally it secretes enzymes that are used for digesting fat and when it happens that this process is disrupted due to tumors the fat is not broken down properly and start to build up in odd places and when time passes this will lead to layers of fatty tissue building up under the skin making the texture abnormal and uneven.
SYMPTOMS OF PANCREATIC NEUROENDOCRINE CANCER
With this type of cancer, there are different symptoms identified for it, and tumors cause excess hormones to be released into the bloodstream and depends on the type of tumor a number of different hormones can be produced. A few of these include:
These will cause some overproduction of stomach acid and it will lead to stomach ulcers that will make nausea, pain and appetite loss and in case of more severe cases they might cause some bleeding and it will lead to black and tarry stools, anemia, and also can cause death.
These kinds of tumors will make too much glucose to be produced In our bloodstream. It can lead to blood sugar and in more severe cases it will lead to diabetes and as well. Also diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition. If you want to identify glucagonomas it will be by a condition most known as necrolytic migratory erythema and that is a red rash that travels from place to place on the skin and causes blisters and also some swelling.
These can cause an opposite effect in comparison to the glucanomas which is a cause from too much insulin production, which will lead to low blood sugar and this’ symptoms can range from the mild, which are weakness, confusion, rapid heartbeat, to the more severe, seizures, fainting, and coma as well.
These always cause overproduction of somatostatins, and that is a hormone known to regulate other hormones, and the symptoms are pain, jaundice, nausea, diabetes, and vomiting.
VIPomas and PPomas:
Thes kind of tumors make peptides that are regulating both the endocrine and exocrine cells in the pancreas. Vasoactive Intestinal Peptides and Pancreatic Peptides cause underproduction of stomach acid which leads to nausea, vomiting, pain, flushing of the face or neck, severe diarrhea and difficulty digesting food. They can also lead to liver enlargement.