November marks the month of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness. And while it may be statistically part of the lesser-known cancers, it still accounts for 7 percent of cancer-related deaths. In 2020, it is estimated that about 54,000 Americans will be diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. Here is a guide to understanding pancreatic cancer, the signs to look out for, the potential risk factors, and how it is treated.
What is Pancreatic Cancer?
As it suggests, pancreatic cancer is a form of cancer that affects the pancreas’ tissues, the organ located in the lower part of the stomach. The pancreas’ main function is to release enzymes needed for digestion and produce hormones that manage one’s blood sugar. Cancerous tumors can arise that prevent these functions.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is the most common form of pancreatic cancer where exocrine tumors form in the cells where the digestive enzymes are. Less common is when pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors form that affects the hormone-producing cells.
Factors that may Contribute to Pancreatic Cancer
The main cause of pancreatic cancer cannot be pinpointed, much like any other form of cancer. However, the disease is slightly more common in men. The risk factors of pancreatic cancer are the following:
- Diabetes (pancreatic cancer manifests when this becomes more difficult to control)
- Inflammation of the pancreas
- Genetic mutation, including a BRCA2 gene mutation, familial atypical mole-malignant melanoma (FAMMM) syndrome, and Lynch syndrome
- Old age
Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is usually undetectable in its early stages and manifests signs when the cancer is at its most critical. This includes:
- Abdominal Pain
- Jaundice, the yellowing of skin and whites in the eyes
- Discoloration in stools
- Blood clots
- Dark-colored urine
- Swollen gallbladder
Other symptoms include:
- Itchy Skin
- Unintentional weight loss
Pancreatic Cancer Prevention
While the leading cause of pancreatic cancer is genetics, some healthy lifestyle habits can prevent it from manifesting. These lifestyle choices include:
- Quitting smoking
- Maintaining a healthy weight, which also prevents the risk of diabetes
- Reducing alcohol intake
- Maintaining a healthy diet
Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer
There are several options for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Here are some of the ways that pancreatic cancer can be treated.
- Anti-Tumor Intravenous Therapy
This treatment is a type of IV therapy that allows high doses of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants needed by the body without passing through the digestive tract.
- Dendritic Cell Therapy
Dendritic Cell Therapy is somewhat best described as a cancer vaccine. In this type of treatment, dendritic cells are trained and multiplied in order for your body to combat the cancer by boosting your immunity.
This therapy is tailored to the patient. Blood is drawn, and monocyte cells are filtered out and exposed to become dendritic cells, which are then exposed to cancer antigens. These dendritic cells are administered back into the patient through infusion or injection.
- Advanced Immunotherapy
This treatment restores immune system functions to enhance the body’s ability to combat cancer.
- Micro-Dose Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy drugs are meant to kill the cancer cells in the body. However, in high doses, they may also unintentionally destroy other cells that are combating the cancer cells, which can weaken the body entirely. High doses can also let in the possibility of drug-resistant tumor cells to spread. As the name suggests, micro-dose chemotherapy administers these drugs at much smaller doses needed not to damage the body.
- Ozone Therapy
Ozone therapy uses Ozone (O3) to sterilize and treat conditions through disinfection, improving oxygen use and absorption, and help stimulate the immune system.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
The body requires a sufficient amount of oxygen to function. This type of treatment introduces oxygen into the system through a pressurized tube or room.
- Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation Therapy (UBI)
Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation Therapy is a treatment that exposes blood to light to boost the body’s immune response and to ward off infection. When exposed to UV light, viruses and bacteria can absorb five times more photonic energy as much as white and red blood cells. This creates a vaccination-like response. It also improves blood circulation in the skin, reduces tissue pain, stimulates red blood cells, and creates a balancing effect or homeostasis.
- Far Infrared Therapy
Far infrared therapy uses far-infrared radiation, which is a subdivision of the electromagnetic spectrum. Infrared light is a light that cannot be perceived but can be felt as heat. “Far” refers to where the wavelength reaches in the light spectrum. Far infrared treatment can help reduce inflammation, modulate sleep, help ease pain, enhance circulation in the skin and aids in protection against oxidative stress.
- Autologous Immunogen Therapy (AIT)
Autologous Immunogen Therapy takes immune cells for the patient’s body to be cultured and processed. Activated and reinforced, they are placed back into the patient to battle the cancer cells.
- Nutritional Guidance and Lectures
To combat pancreatic cancer, lifestyle changes are necessary. Part of treatment and recovery is getting proper knowledge of the diet you have, what changes have to be made, and what works best to strengthen your immune system. It is important to stick to a diet that gives options that increase the intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of a recurring infection. Meal plans are often recommended by doctors to work around allergies.
At New Hope Unlimited, patients are cared for and receive special attention to their needs as patients. We take pride in the facilities, cleanliness, and comfort that we provide to every patient to ensure they receive treatment that works best for them. Contact us now for more inquiries.