Pancreatic cancer is known as a silent killer, as the cancer usually goes undetected until the advanced stage. It is one of the deadliest cancers that we know. The prevalence of pancreatic cancer is about two persons in 100,000 in Malaysia. It typically affects people in the sixties.
What is the Pancreas?
The pancreas is an organ located in the upper middle portion of the body, at the back portion of our abdominal cavity. Its function is to produce insulin to control our blood sugar and to produce enzymes for fat and protein digestion.
What are the Risk Factors for Pancreatic Cancer?
- Old age
What are the Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer?
Most patients with pancreatic cancer have no symptoms until the tumour is fairly large or advanced. However, some symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:
- Abdominal pain
- Painless jaundice
- Early signs of diabetes
How Is Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosed?
Currently, there is no real surveillance for pancreatic cancer. Most pancreatic cancers are diagnosed during performing tests that are unrelated to the pancreas itself, such as during health screening or ultrasound of the abdomen.
What are the Treatment Options for Pancreatic Cancer?
The Whipple procedure, or pancreaticodoudenectomy, is a major surgical operation that is usually done for patients with pancreatic head cancer, trauma or chronic pancreatitis. The surgery involves removal of the pancreatic head, duodenum, jejunum, gallbladder, and occasionally a portion of the stomach. The operation usually takes 4 to 8 hours. The Whipple procedure offers the best chance of survival and cure for patients with pancreatic cancer.
To find out more about this procedure, make an appointment with one of our surgeons below.