Tokushukai Medical Group

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Digestive System Surgery: Pancreatic Cancer (Cancer of Pancreas)

A leading cancer which the treatment is difficult.

Pancreatic Cancer is called as the difficult cancer for the treatment, because it is hard to find, hard to appear symptoms, fast in its progress. It is increasing recently, and 4th ranked followed by lung cancer, bowel cancer and stomach cancer. Here, the cause, symptoms and recent treatment are explained.

Generic contributor is slightly related with.

Traditionally, the generic contributor is appointed, and 3 to 7 % of pancreatic cancer patients is found infected in the family (blood relationship) member. Other than these, diabetes, obesity, disease like chronic pancreatitis, habit for smoking or drinking, are considered as the risk factor. There is an abscess (tumor) called as Papillary mucus tumors in the pancreatic duct (IPMN). This becomes a arising base of pancreatic cancer so that person who has diagnosed as pancreatic cancer, the professional follow up is necessary. Also, pancreas cyst (water is hold in pancreas) may change to cancer, periodical follow up is necessary.

When bile passage is bunged up with abscess, it is called as jaundice.

Generally, characteristic of pancreas cancer is that the symptoms is hard to appear. By the increase of abscess, symptoms like abdominal pain, back pain, lose weight, lost appetite, appears. In case pancreas cancer is developed at right side of pancreas, bile flow is bunged up, then the symptom called as jaundice, entire body changed into yellow, comes up. Also, when pancreatitis is developed, in that case, sudden abdominal pain comes up.

The case for which surgery is possible increases by the progress of anti-cancer drug.

Same as several other cancers, surgical operation is the first choice. Depend on the position of pancreas cancer, surgical method varies. In case it is developed at right side, pancreatic head duodenal resection (pancreas 1/3, bile duct, gallbladder, duodenum is cut off), in case of left side, resection of the tail of the pancreatic body (pancreas 1/2, spleen are cut off), are generally conducted. Both operation cut the belonging lymph node (nearby lymph gland) off at same time. Recently, laparoscopic surgery is conducting for low-grade tumors like pancreatic cystic tumors, so that low invasive treatment becomes possible.

Anti-cancer drug is used as chemotherapy for the case where surgery is unable to conduct, or supplemental chemotherapy for prevent recurrence. Recently, anti-cancer drug therapy has dramatically improved, tumor reduction effect (response rate) is about 40% on guideline recommended drug, and 80% when including cancer growth inhibitory effect. It comes across occasionally when operation is unable to conduct at the time diagnosed, but after anti-cancer drug is administered, surgical operation becomes possible.

Regarding to radiation therapy, it is said that there is no effect than relieving the pain, however there is a report saying together with anti-cancer drug it is useful. Thus, there is a possibility of adding as one of combined modality therapy (combined therapy) soon.

Other than the above, immune therapy, molecular-target therapy is conducting as clinical test, so that it is expected being add to combined modality therapy.