Pancreatic cancer accounts for 3% of all cancers in the United States and more than 55,000 men and women are diagnosed with the disease each year. This cancer is highly aggressive and requires prompt treatment, which Charleston Hematology Oncology Associates provides. From clinical trials to standard chemotherapy, the team of oncologists ensures that patients in the Charleston, West Ashley, and Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, areas have what they need to combat the disease. For more information about pancreatic cancer, call to request a consultation.
Your pancreas has two types of cells and cancer can strike either type. The distinction is important because each requires a different standard of care. The two types are:
These cells form the exocrine glands and ducts in your pancreas, which release enzymes into your gastrointestinal tract for digestion.
Much smaller in number, these cells make up small islets in your pancreas that produce insulin and glucagon for regulating your blood sugar levels.
In more than 95% of pancreatic cancer diagnoses, the problem lies in your exocrine cells and typically presents itself as an adenocarcinoma. There are other types of cancer that can affect these cells, including:
These types of cancer are highly uncommon, so it’s more than likely that any pancreatic diagnosis that involves your endocrine cells is an adenocarcinoma.
In fewer than 5% of pancreatic cancer diagnoses, the disease attacks your endocrine cells.
Pancreatic cancer is a very aggressive form of cancer and it’s often discovered after the cancer has spread. This is why getting checked out at the first sign of a problem is paramount. Typically, the cancer causes the following symptoms:
The rapidly spreading nature of this cancer makes it imperative that you seek medical counsel at Charleston Hematology Oncology Associates if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above.
The most important tool for diagnosing pancreatic cancer is imaging. Your doctor at Charleston Hematology Oncology Associates typically orders an MRI, CT scan, or PET scan to get started. If they notice something unusual, they typically follow-up with an endoscopic ultrasound, as well as a biopsy.
If your doctor confirms the presence of cancer in your pancreas, they work to stage the disease to formulate a treatment plan, which can include:
The team at Charleston Hematology Oncology Associates also recommends palliative care alongside your treatments to address any issues with pain.
To get comprehensive treatment for pancreatic cancer, call Charleston Hematology Oncology Associates to request an appointment.