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Pancreatic Cancer

Integrative Treatment Options for All Stages of Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic Cancer Treatment Program

Pancreatic cancer is a malignancy that starts in the cells of the pancreas. The pancreas is an elongated organ resembling a stretched pear.

Its widest part, the head, is located around the middle of the upper abdomen behind the intersection where the stomach meets the duodenum. The rest of the pancreas extends 6 to 10 inches to the left as it tapers to a thin end called the tail.

The pancreas is a vital organ housing various glands that excrete enzymes and hormones essential for digestion (lipase, protease, gastrin, and amylase) and regulating blood sugar (insulin and glucagon).

Pancreatic Cancer Patient Testimonials

The most remarkable testimony to the results of the holistic treatments offered at Brio-Medical comes from the inspiring stories of actual Pancreatic Cancer patients and their families.

What is Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic Cancer is a disease that occurs when mutated or abnormal cells in the pancreas begin to multiply rapidly and uncontrollably.

These dysfunctional cells accumulate in the pancreas, forming a cancerous tumor.

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The tumor grows gradually over time, up to the point where it starts to compromise the normal functioning of the pancreas; this is when the disease becomes apparent and dangerous.

A single tumor can also spread to different parts of the pancreas and even to other organs via a process called metastasis.

Pancreatic cancer is a relatively rare but fatal disease. According to the National Cancer Institute, the annual rate of new cases is about 13 per 100,000 men and women, accounting for roughly 3% of all cancers.

While only 1.7 percent of adult Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at some point in their life, the 5-year survival rate after diagnosis stands at 11.5%.

The reason for such a low survival rate is that pancreatic cancer is notoriously difficult to diagnose during the early stages.

Only 9.7% of cases are detected during the early localized phase. Most patients are diagnosed with the disease well after it has already metastasized and become challenging to treat.

What Are the Risk Factors of Pancreatic Cancer?

A risk factor is any trait, behavior, or activity that might increase your chances of developing cancer.

Some risk factors, such as poor lifestyle choices, can be avoided, while others cannot be changed.

Here are the known risk factors of pancreatic cancer:

  • Smoking – Cigarette smokers are twice as likely to get pancreatic cancer than non-smokers.
  • Diabetes – If you have diabetes mellitus (type 2), you might be at a higher risk of pancreatic cancer.
  • Obesity – Being overweight makes you more susceptible to pancreatic cancer. It might also contribute to poor prognosis and survival.
  • Chronic pancreatitis – This is a pancreas disease that’s closely linked to pancreatic cancer. Chronic pancreatitis is mainly caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Diet – A diet high in red and processed meats can lead to pancreatic cancer, especially in men.
  • Family history – If your family has a history of pancreatic cancer, there's a slight chance you might get it too.
  • Age – Pancreatic cancer incidence and mortality generally increase with age.
  • Exposure to industrial chemicals – Chlorinated and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (commonly used in dry cleaning and metal-related work) have elevated the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Understanding these risk factors helps us find ways to prevent pancreatic cancer, at least to some degree.

For instance, avoiding smoking and heavy alcohol consumption, a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) can help mitigate the risk of pancreatic cancer.

What Are the Different Types of Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancers fall into two main categories, which are further split into several sub-types.

1. Exocrine Pancreatic Cancer

This type of cancer starts in exocrine cells, which form most of the pancreas. These are the building blocks of the exocrine glands and ducts that excrete digestive enzymes into the GI tract. The most common exocrine pancreatic cancer is pancreatic adenocarcinoma, which accounts for over 95% of all pancreatic cancer cases. The disease usually starts in the exocrine ducts.

Other known but rare types of exocrine pancreatic cancer include squamous cell carcinoma, colloid carcinoma, adenosquamous carcinoma, and signet ring cell carcinoma.

2. Neuroendocrine Pancreatic Cancer

These cancers develop in the pancreas's endocrine glands that produce glucagon and insulin hormones. Neuroendocrine cancers are rare, making up less than 5% of all pancreatic cancer cases.

What Are the Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer is hard to detect for both the patient and the doctor.

That’s why it’s important to know the early signs and symptoms of the disease.

Although these are not always apparent, here are some of the symptoms commonly associated with pancreatic cancer:

  • Unexplained jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin, dark-colored urine, greasy or light-colored stool)
  • Pain in the belly or back
  • Low appetite accompanied by unintended weight loss
  • Dramatic changes in blood sugar
  • Nausea and vomiting after meals
  • Fatigue
  • Uncomfortable upper abdominal swelling or bloating

Ensure you seek medical attention if you notice any of these symptoms. A clinical check-up or diagnosis is the only way to confirm or rule out the disease.

How Is Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosed?

The symptoms we’ve just mentioned are not definitive proof of pancreatic cancer. But if they are enough reasons to suspect the disease, the doctor will run various tests to check for other indications.

Pancreatic cancer screening begins with abdominal imaging using CT or ultrasound scans. The images look for any detectable tumors or visual hints of pancreatic cancer.

Depending on the results from these tests, an endoscopic ultrasound, cholangiopancreatography, or X-ray angiography may be required to visualize the pancreas directly.

This is usually followed by a percutaneous or endoscopic pancreas biopsy, where a fluid or tissue sample is drawn from a suspected tumor for lab examination.

The doctor may also look for specific biomarkers of pancreatic cancer through a series of blood tests. An MRI exam may also come in handy to gauge the spread of the disease.

Once the cancer is detected, it is then staged based on the tumor’s size, whether it affects the lymph nodes, and how far it has metastasized. There are four main stages of pancreatic cancer:

  • Stage I – The tumor is contained in the pancreas and is no more than 2 cm across.
  • Stage II – The tumor is between 2 cm and 4 cm across and has started to spread to nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage III – The cancer has spread to nearby large blood vessels and more than four nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage IV – The cancer has spread to distant sites (usually the liver and inner lining of the abdomen).

Brio-Medical’s Holistic Treatments for Pancreatic Cancer

Advanced stages of pancreatic cancer are very difficult to treat, particularly with conventional means such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

But Brio-Medical Cancer Center has a wide selection of natural holistic remedies that can greatly minimize the adverse symptoms of the diseases and the side effects of various treatments.

Our holistic remedies seek to heal the body from within by addressing the root cause of the problem.

We focus not only on physical health but also on mental and emotional wellness. The following alternative cancer medicine and practices can improve your quality of life in ways that traditional medicine can’t:

Get in touch with our experts today to design a holistic treatment regimen just for you.

Pancreatic Cancer References:

  1. National Cancer Institute. “Cancer Stat Facts: Pancreatic Cancer.” The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. Cancer Statistics. Accessed September 8, 2022.
  2. Zhang, Lulu et al. “Challenges in diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.” World journal of gastroenterology vol. 24,19 (2018): 2047-2060. doi:10.3748/wjg.v24.i19.2047.
  3. McWilliams, Robert R et al. “Risk Factors for Early-Onset and Very-Early-Onset Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma: A Pancreatic Cancer Case-Control Consortium (PanC4) Analysis.” Pancreas vol. 45,2 (2016): 311-6. doi:10.1097/MPA.0000000000000392.
  4. Bosetti, C et al. “Cigarette smoking and pancreatic cancer: an analysis from the International Pancreatic Cancer Case-Control Consortium (Panc4)." Annals of oncology: official journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology vol. 23,7 (2012): 1880-8. doi:10.1093/annonc/mdr541.
  5. De Souza, Andre et al. “Diabetes Type 2 and Pancreatic Cancer: A History Unfolding.” JOP: Journal of the pancreas vol. 17,2 (2016): 144-148.
  6. Kirkegård, Jakob et al. “Chronic Pancreatitis and Pancreatic Cancer Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” The American journal of gastroenterology vol. 112,9 (2017): 1366-1372. doi:10.1038/ajg.2017.218.
  7. Bracci, Paige M. “Obesity and pancreatic cancer: Overview of epidemiologic evidence and biologic mechanisms.” Molecular carcinogenesis vol. 51,1 (2012): 53-63. doi:10.1002/mc.20778.
  8. Larsson, S C, and A Wolk. “Red and processed meat consumption and risk of pancreatic cancer: Meta-analysis of prospective studies.” British journal of cancer vol. 106,3 (2012): 603-7. doi:10.1038/bjc.2011.585.
  9. New York State Department of Health. “Pancreatic Cancer Incidence and Mortality by Age group, New York County (Manhattan), 2015-2019.” New York State Cancer Registry. Revised: March 2022. Accessed September 8, 2022.
  10. Copur, Mehmet Sitki et al. “Hereditary vs. Familial Pancreatic Cancer: Associated Genetic Syndromes and Clinical Perspective.” Oncology (Williston Park, N.Y.) vol. 34,6 (2020): 196-201.
  11. Andreotti, Gabriella, and Debra T Silverman. “Occupational risk factors and pancreatic cancer: a review of recent findings.” Molecular carcinogenesis vol. 51,1 (2012): 98-108. doi:10.1002/mc.20779.
  12. Vareedayah, Ashley A et al. “Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma.” Missouri medicine vol. 115,3 (2018): 230-235.
  13. The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team. “Tests for Pancreatic Cancer.” Cancer A-Z. Last Revised: January 2, 2020. Accessed September 10, 2022.
  14. The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team. “Pancreatic Cancer Stages.” Cancer A-Z. Last Revised: December 18, 2017. Accessed September 10, 2022.
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