Pancreatic Cancer

The cost of treating pancreatic cancer in India varies. Now it's easy to calculate the cost based on the number of sessions you need.

S.No. Treatment Price in ($) Price in (₹)
1. Chemotherapy $300 per session INR 22,200 per session
2. Radiation Therapy $3,000 INR 222,000
3. Whipple’s procedure $7,500 INR 557,000
4. Total Pancreatectomy $5,000 INR 371,000

What Is Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic Cancer

Today cancer is the most commonly occurring disease not only in India but also all over the world. In case of pancreatic cancer the severity increases because it has been said by many oncologists and physicians that pancreas is an important organ of the body, and apart from the liver it is the most crucial organ that is responsible for digestion and metabolism by the secretion of bile, the key ingredient that helps in the process of digestion of different nutrient substances such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and many others, and alongside secretes two types of hormones known as insulin and glucagon- that maintains the amount of blood sugar levels in your body. Pancreas, apart from aiding in digestion, has another important role of providing energy by helping in metabolism of glucose as the hormones released from pancreas help to break down glucose into the simplest forms and thus releases energy.

So, when someone develops a pancreatic cancer, all these functions get disrupted. According to recent studies, research, and experiments it has been revealed that, almost around 3 percent of cancer in the United States comprises of only pancreatic cancer that is responsible for the death of almost 7 percent of them.

Pancreatic cancer may be largely divided into two broad types:

  • Pancreatic adeno- carcinoma: This type of cancer occurs in the enzyme- secreting exocrine cells that are responsible for proper digestion. This is the most commonly found types of pancreatic cancer.
  • Pancreatic neuro- endocrine tumors: This type of cancer occurs on the hormone- secreting endocrine cells that are responsible for proper metabolism and controlling moods.

Symptoms Of Pancreatic Cancer

symptoms of pancreatic cancer

The symptoms of pancreatic cancer differ from one person to the other. Some also may not witness any kind of symptom of pancreatic cancer in the early stages. Yet there are certain common symptoms of pancreatic cancer that are usually found to occur among those who suffer from pancreatic cancer. Some of those symptoms are as follows:

  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Mild to severe pain in the abdomen
  • Pain in the lower back region
  • Jaundice
  • Lack of appetite
  • Blood clots or thrombosis that usually occurs in body parts such as legs, hands etc and appears red along with swelling and pain in that region
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • The color of urine changes from dark to brown shades
  • Feeling of itchiness in the skin
  • Discolored and greasy stool
  • Type 2 diabetes or high levels of blood sugar
  • Chances of getting clinical depression

Causes Of Pancreatic Cancer

Causes of Pancreatic Cancer

There are several causes that are considered responsible for the occurrence of pancreatic cancer. Some of them are as follows:

  • Excessive smoking of cigarettes, tar and nicotine of which are highly poisonous and are often responsible for causing cancers.
  • Heavy drinking of alcohol or excessive use of drugs may lead to pancreatitis and development of pancreatic cancer.
  • Excessive weight gain and obesity might increase the risk of occurrence of pancreatic cancer.
  • Unhealthy eating habits and irregular lifestyle often causes pancreatic cancer because the junk foods that gets digested within the body might damage and harm the pancreas in a severe way.
  • People who have diabetes, such as type 1 and type 2 diabetes, are at greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer..
  • The chances of development of pancreatic cancer are more, according to recent research, studies and experimental statistics often hereditary- often people tend to develop pancreatic cancer if they have any similar kind of trait in their genetic or parental blood lines or in their family traits. Apart from this, sometimes, there are certain genetic factors which result from mutation and recombination, that are responsible for the occurrence of pancreatic cancer in your body. Some of the factors can be Lynch syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, multiple mole melanoma syndrome that may be a trait occurring in the family history, and many others.
  • Infections from micro- organisms such as H. pylori in the digestive tract of the body might lead to development of pancreatic cancer.

Stages Of Pancreatic Cancer

There are precisely 4 discrete stages of pancreatic cancer. As the number of the stage increases, the severity of the cancer increases. Take a detailed look at what happens in each of those stages:

Pancreatic cancer stage 4

Stage 4 is the most complicated stage of pancreatic cancer where there is little chance of survival of the patient and it is really hard to recover. In this stage the symptoms become more prominent and become easily noticeable. When diagnosed at a late stage, particularly in the 4th stage, there is no chance to recover from pancreatic cancer. Some of the common symptoms of this stage include:

  • Jaundice and yellowing of eyes, nails, and body
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Mild to severe pain in the upper abdomen and also in the lower back
  • A loss of appetite
  • Unusual loss of body weight
  • Chances of clinical depression

Pancreatic cancer stage 3

The cancer reaches a difficult point in stage 3 and curing the cancer in this stage becomes quite difficult. In this stage, the patient might start to feel the following symptoms:

  • Lower back pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Exhaustion and heavy fatigue
  • Pain or tenderness in the upper abdomen
  • Weight loss
  • Depression

Though this stage of pancreatic cancer is difficult to treat, but many surgeons in India have treated this stage successfully in many cases through the effective application of radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Pancreatic cancer stage 2

In this stage of pancreatic cancer, the size of the tumor has increased a bit and the cancer has slightly started spreading into its surrounding areas. Based on the size of tumor, this stage too can be divided into two steps. They are the following:

  • Stage 2A: In this stage the size of the tumor is larger than 4 centimeters (cm) but the cancer has not yet spread into the surrounding areas or the adjacent lymph nodes.
  • Stage 2B: The tumor has gradually started to spread into the adjacent tissues and almost 2 to 3 lymph nodes.

Pancreatic cancer stage 1

This is the stage when the process of development of cancer just initiates and a small lump in the form of tumor starts to grow on the pancreas. This stage can be broadly divided into two phases:

  • Stage 2B: In this stage the size of the pancreatic tumor is 2 cm or less.
  • Stage 2B: Now the tumor grows a bit in size and measures a bit more than 2 cm but less than 4 cm.

Pancreatic cancer stage 0

Practically no symptoms occur in this stage, because stage 0 is the initial stage of pancreatic cancer. In this stage the condition does not develop to be a cancer, but the organ and its surroundings might develop certain abnormal cells that later develop into cancerous cells.

Treatments Of Pancreatic Cancer

Treatment of any kind of cancer depends on several factors, such as the stage which the cancer is currently in, the damage that it has caused to the pancreas, and to the surrounding areas and many others. But the primary treatment procedure of pancreatic cancer involves two primary stages:

  • To destroy the cancerous cells and thus stop the abnormal cell division and
  • To check the cancer from spreading into different parts of the body

Though the type and procedures of pancreatic cancer treatment differs from one person to the other, there are certain common methods that should be followed for the treatment of this type of cancer. Some of those usual methods of treatment are listed here as follows:

Surgery: The most common technique of treating pancreatic cancer is through surgery. The aim of surgery for treating pancreatic cancer is to get rid of those parts of the pancreas that have become damaged by the cancer. This process will effectively help in the removal of the tumor or the lump that develops with cancer. But, it has also been found that if the cancer cells spread from the pancreas into the surrounding areas, then it would become difficult to remove those affected areas. For this reason, when pancreatic cancer reaches the most advanced stage, surgery is not a preferable option to treat pancreatic cancer.

Radiation therapy: The use of radiation therapy is the most effective way to treat pancreatic cancer. This procedure uses X- rays and high- intensity lights that are applied on the affected region to destroy the cancer cells.

Chemotherapy: A drug therapy in cancer treatment, the most effective therapy that uses medications to treat the cancer.

Targeted therapy: This is a unique therapy to treat pancreatic cancer. In this method, the cancer cells are targeted, and they are destroyed by using medicinal drugs and antibodies, without damaging the surrounding healthy cells.

Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is an advanced technique in treating cancer diseases because in this therapy the immune system of the body is given a boost to treat the cancer.

Survival Rate in Pancreatic Cancer

Survival rates in case of pancreatic cancer can vary from one person to the other, depending on the stage of the cancer and its severity. Here is the average survival rate for pancreatic cancer:

Stage 1-year survival rate 5-year survival rate 10-year survival rate
Localized 55% 35.4% 29.8%
Regional 50.6% 12.3% 8.1%
Distant 17.4% 2.8% 1.6%

Pancreatic Cancer Treatment in India

Several countries in the world are well-known for their medical tourism services, and India ranks well amongst these countries.

Out of all 36, JCI (Joint Commission International) accredited hospitals, MGM Healthcare, MIOT Hospital, and Fortis network are well-known hospitals for pancreatic cancer treatment in India due to their reduced treatment costs, advanced infrastructure, medical personnel, and other paramedics staff.

Some questions that are frequently asked:

Q. What is palliative care in cancer treatment?

Ans. When the pancreatic cancer takes up a severe condition within the body, a stage that is difficult to cure, then the patient is kept in the palliative care where utmost care and comfort can be provided to the patient while the condition of the patient is serious.

Q.How much time will it take to cure pancreatic cancer?

Ans. The amount of time that is required to treat pancreatic cancer largely depends on the severity of the cancer in the patient.

Q. For how long should chemotherapy be continued?

Ans. For treating any kind of cancer after surgery, at least 2 to 3 weeks of chemotherapy is required on an average. The concerned physician will be the best person to decide for how long you will need chemotherapy.

Q. Will I suffer from digestive issues after having pancreatic cancer?

Ans. It is quite normal to have digestion problems after having pancreatic cancer, but once the cancer is cured the digestive issues might subside.

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