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Understanding Pancreatic Cancer: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Pancreatic cancer is a devastating diagnosis for any individual and their family. It is a disease that can develop in the pancreas, a vital organ that plays a significant role in digestion. In most cases, pancreatic cancer is not detected until it has reached advanced stages, making it one of the deadliest types of cancers.


Causes of Pancreatic Cancer

General causes of pancreatic cancer are not fully understood yet, but doctors have identified certain risk factors for the disease. One of the notable risk factors is age, as my type of cancer increases with age. Those over 60 are at a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Other risk factors include smoking, obesity, and a family history of pancreatic cancer.

Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer usually doesn't cause any initial symptoms. However, as the cancer grows, symptoms may include abdominal or back pain, jaundice, nausea, weight loss, and loss of appetite. It's important to note that these symptoms are also common in other illnesses. However, if you experience any of these symptoms for an extended period, visit a doctor for a checkup.

Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer

The diagnosis of pancreatic cancer can be difficult, especially during the early stages. Your doctor will require a complete evaluation of your medical history and symptoms and perform a physical exam. Other diagnostic tests such as endoscopy, ultrasound, and MRI imaging are used to detect pancreatic cancer.

Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer

The treatment options for pancreatic cancer depend heavily on the stage of the cancer. For early-stage pancreatic cancer, the main treatment is surgery, which includes a pancreaticoduodenectomy, distal pancreatectomy, or total pancreatectomy. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and clinical trials are also used to treat pancreatic cancer. However, the effectiveness of each treatment option varies according to each individual case.


Pancreatic cancer can be a scary and daunting diagnosis, but getting the right treatment as early as possible can bring positive outcomes. Understanding and identifying the symptoms of pancreatic cancer and its risk factors may aid in earlier diagnosis and treatment. Anyone with any symptoms such as abdominal and back pain, jaundice, unexplained weight loss, and loss of appetite should see a doctor urgently. By being aware of the causes, symptoms, and treatments of pancreatic cancer, we can help ourselves and our loved ones in fighting against this disease.