As integral parts of your gastrointestinal and digestive systems, your pancreas, bile ducts, and gallbladder all assist in the breakdown of foods. Cancers that occur in these organs typically are found after symptoms develop as there are no good screening tests available.
While there are no specific means of prevention, there are a number of risk factors associated with these cancers, and most specifically pancreatic cancer. These risk factors include:
A large study demonstrated that the combination of smoking, long-standing diabetes and a poor diet increases the risk of pancreatic cancer beyond the risk of any one of these factors alone. You may reduce your chances of getting pancreatic cancer if you stop smoking, maintain a healthy weight and select a diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Each of these cancers is difficult to detect early. The most common symptoms of each include: yellowing of the skin and eyes, upper abdominal pain with our without fever, weight loss, nausea/vomiting, skin itching, new onset or sudden worsening of diabetes.
If an individual has specific signs and symptoms that lead to pancreatic, bile duct or gall bladder cancer, a series of tests and exams will be done to find the actual cause. If findings suggestive of cancer are found during these tests, more tests may be ordered to determine the severity. The most common diagnostic tests include:
Treatment is tailored to the specific characteristics of each patient and each tumor. The most common treatments include:
To request an appointment or to obtain a second opinion on your diagnosis, please call the CareMount Medical Cancer Center Referral Line at 1-844-484-3292.