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Pancreatic Cancer Treatment - Dubai Oncology Clinic

Pancreatic Cancer:

The pancreas is a large gland located at the middle and the left of the upper abdominal cavity, it consists of three parts: head, body, and tail. Pancreas produces both hormones and digestive enzymes. Pancreas cancer happened when the exocrine cells or endocrine cells grow out of control, this uncontrollable division producing a pancreatic mass called a tumor.

Pancreatic cancer generally spread first within the abdomen cavity, it can also spread out the abdominal cavity towards the lungs, bones, brain, and other organs.  Pancreatic cancer is the tenth most common cancer in men and the eighth most common cancer in women.

According to the American Cancer Society, the percentage of pancreatic cancer is about 3% of all cancers in the United States and about 7% of all cancer death.
This type of cancer is slightly more common in men than in women.

Usually, pancreatic cancer does not cause clear symptoms in its early stage, many physicians say that pancreatic cancer is a silent disease because of its late symptoms.

Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms:

As pancreatic cancer grows it can start to cause many symptoms, these can include:

  • Abdominal pain: mainly, upper abdominal pain spreads around to the back.
  • Back pain
  • indigestion
  • Jaundice: yellowing of the skin and the eyes.
  • Unexplained loss weight
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Light-colored stools: it happens when a bile duct is blocked.
  • Dark urine: due to high Bilirubin levels in the bloodstream.
  • Hepatomegaly
  • Blood clots
  • Itching
  • Diabetes.

Causes of Pancreatic cancer:

The direct cause of pancreatic cancer is not known, however, there are a lot of factors that raise the risk of pancreatic cancer.

  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Diabetes
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Getting older: about two-thirds of pancreatic cancer are 65 years old.
  • Gender: pancreatic cancer is slightly more common in men than in women.
  • Family history
  • Heredity syndromes: heredity pancreatitis, Lynch syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, familial malignant melanoma, and pancreatic cancer.

After careful medical examination, medical history, and family history, if there is any suspicion of pancreatic cancer, the physician may refer for further investigations.

Lab Test:

may show up elevated pancreatic function, liver 

function, and Bilirubin level.

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Biomarker Testing of the Cancer:

  • most common tumor marker for pancreatic cancer is CA19-9.
  • Endoscopy for evaluation of stomach pouch, and endoscopic ultrasound for the guidance of the needle in tumor biopsy.
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography ERCP: it is used for diagnosis by detecting any narrowing or blockage in the bile duct and for treatment by placing a stent into the bile duct or pancreatic duct to keep it open if nearby cancer pressing on it.
  • CT scan abdomen: it is an important imaging examination in the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
  • CT can show the structure of the pancreas clearly and also can be used for guidance of a needle in tumor biopsy (CT-guided biopsy).
  • Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography MRCP and percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography PTC: for the study of a complete bile duct tree.
  • PET scan, MRI of abdomen and chest for more evaluation and tumor staging
  • Diagnostic laparoscopy with multiple biopsies in a few cases

Pancreatic Cancer Types:

Pancreatic adenocarcinoma: most common, it arises from uncontrollable growth of exocrine cells which produce digestive enzymes.

Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor: it arises from the uncontrollable growth of endocrine cells which produce hormones.

Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer:

  • The treatment of a tumor depends on how much pancreatic tissues are involved and if there is any spread to lymph nodes or other organs.
  • It is helpful to know all details about your treatment options, and whether this treatment is curative or palliative.
  • Pancreatic cancer treatment is mainly surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
  • In resectable tumors: surgery followed by adjuvant treatment (chemoradiotherapy post-surgery).

Surgical treatment depends on the site of the tumor:

  • Whipple surgery (excision of the pancreatic head, duodenum, gallbladder, a part of the bile duct, and adjacent lymph nodes) if the tumor was in the head of the pancreas
  • Distal pancreatectomy if the tumor was in the body and the tail of the pancreas
  • Total pancreatectomy if all pancreas tissues were involved.

Surgery is not indicated in advanced cases (extensive cancer spread, vessel invasion). however, some palliative treatments can be done (nerve block for pain management, bile duct stent insertion for jaundice treatment). 
In borderline resectable tumors: neoadjuvant treatment (chemoradiotherapy) to shrink the tumor and make it easier to remove by surgery.
In advanced tumors: chemoradiotherapy is recommended followed by surgery if possible. Other treatment options include immunotherapy and targeted therapy.

Prognosis of Pancreatic Cancer:

The long-term prognosis in pancreatic cancer depends on size, type, and degree of metastasis.
5 years relative survival rate in localized pancreatic cancer is 37% meanwhile decreasing to 10% in regional cancer and to 3% in advanced metastasized cases.

best Pancreatic cancer screening and comprehensive oncology services at DRHC in Dubai. Our expert team of Oncology Specialists is dedicated to providing top-notch care and early detection for all types of cancer. Book your appointment today and take charge of your health!

Call us at DRHC to book your appointment at +97142798200