January 19, 2023
Pancreatic cancer is a complex disease, only in Peru more than 1600 cases are diagnosed per year. This condition attacks the tissues of the pancreas, an organ that is located behind the stomach, generating changes or mutations in the DNA of its cells, making them grow uncontrollably, favoring the formation of tumors. This disease is related to hereditary alterations in 1 out of 4 patients; For this reason, affected people must undergo the necessary tests under the supervision of a genetic counselor, who will determine, according to the result, the treatment of the patient and the preventive control of the family. On this occasion, Dr. Pedro Cáceres, an oncologist at Clinica Ricardo Palma, will give us more information on the subject.
Pancreatic cancer: How to diagnose it and what are its symptoms
Pancreatic cancer is a complex disease, with more than 1600 cases diagnosed annually in Peru alone. This condition affects the tissues of the pancreas, an organ located behind the stomach, causing mutations in the DNA of its cells that lead to uncontrolled growth, resulting in the formation of tumors. This disease is related to hereditary alterations in 1 out of 4 patients; therefore, affected individuals must undergo necessary tests under the supervision of a genetic counselor, who will determine, based on the results, the patient’s treatment and the family’s preventive control. On this occasion, Dr. Pedro Cáceres, an oncologist at Clinica Ricardo Palma, will provide us with more information on the subject
Among the main risk factors for pancreatic cancer, we find:
The symptoms will depend on the location of the cancer. In an advanced stages of the disease, there are constitutional symptoms, as well as symptoms caused by compression or invasion. Among the most characteristic are:
The symptoms of pancreatic tail cancer appear later.
Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect early because it is found in a deep region of the body. For this reason, in routine physical examinations they cannot be seen or felt; symptoms begin to appear when the cancer has already grown or spread to other organs. Abnormal routine laboratory tests are not specific for this cancer, and the finding is often incidental through imaging studies such as computed tomography (CT) scans and abdominal ultrasound.
Despite having high mortality rates, pancreatic cancer can be treated. Cure rates are related to timely diagnosis, so it is essential to consult a specialist when symptoms present, especially if they have been evolving for a long time. Do not minimize them.
Dr. Pedro Cáceres
Oncologist at Clinica Ricardo Palma