Do you know where your pancreas is located? Many have never heard of it but it is an important glad that sits behind your stomach under your ribs. It is about six inches long and resembles a skinny pear. It does two things to help our body to function correctly and those two jobs are: to produce hormones like glycogen and insulin which are used to keep the sugar level in our blood balanced and produce enzymes that are used to digest the food we eat.
Smoking creates a risk factor for developing pancreatic cancer. There are many things that are considered risk factors so if you think you have a risk factor, then talk to your doctor. The known risk factors are a diabetic condition that you have had for a long time, chronic pancreatitis and smoking. There are also some hereditary conditions that can play a part. Cancer of the pancreas is when malignant cells begin to grow in the tissues of the pancreas. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer will be conditions like jaundice, weight loss and pain. If you experiences any of the following conditions, you should see your doctor right away.
Unexplained weight loss is a big red flag for many diseases and so it should always be questioned. Yellowing of the whites of your eyes is called jaundice and this is a sign of trouble also. If you have pain in you back or middle of your abdomen and if you have fatigue and loss of appetite, this also should send you right to your doctor for further exams as these are other symptoms of pancreatic cancer.
Early diagnosis is hard to do because in the early stages there are few symptoms. When the symptoms or signs do appear they can look like signs of many other types of illnesses and so this cancer can go undetected for years. Your doctor will have specific tests that can examine the pancreas as a better way of diagnosing as well as staging the cancer found in the pancreas. Once the symptoms of pancreatic cancer are found, then x-rays can be done to check further. A physical exam and history will also be done and a CT scan will give detailed pictures of the gland and the areas surrounding it. Your doctor might also use a MRI for other detailed picture as well as a PET scan which can locate malignanttumor cells in your body. An endoscopic ultrasound is another tool that your doctor might use.
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