What is Pancreas cancer
Pancreas cancer is in the top 10 most frequent cancers affecting Australians regardless of gender. There are just under 4000 cases diagnosed per year and majority of people diagnosed with pancreas cancer are incurable due to late diagnosis. The reason being it is difficult to diagnose pancreatic cancer early on as there are no symptoms to alert people that this is happening. The symptoms may include jaundice (yellow discolouration of eyes and skin), dark urine, itchy skin, pale stools or unexpected weight loss. Pancreas cancer is usually diagnosed with CT scan, MRI scan and Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS). Blood tests are usually not reliable and a biopsy with EUS procedure is often necessary to be definitive about the diagnosis and to progress further treatment. Treatment usually involves chemotherapy, occasionally radiotherapy and rarely surgery. When there is evidence of jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes) a stent is needed to be placed by the ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) procedure to resolve the jaundice otherwise invariably life-threatening infection ensues. This is often a pre-requisite to facilitate the next step of treatment (chemotherapy) safely.
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