Pancreas Divisum Type 1 (PDT1)
The pancreas is divided into two parts: the endocrine and the muscular part. The endocrine part contains all glands which secrete hormones such as insulin, glucagon, etc. These are called secretory or secreted glands. They include the pancreas itself, the duodenum and jejunum.
The pancreas is surrounded by the muscular part which includes the gallbladder, bile ducts, liver and intestines.
In patients with PDT1 type of diabetes there is no secretion of any hormone from these glands. Their function remains unchanged. There are some rare cases where the gland does not produce enough hormones to keep up with blood sugar levels, but this condition is very uncommon and it usually resolves spontaneously without treatment.
What Causes Pancreatic Cancer?
There are several possible causes of pancreatic cancer. The most common cause is viral infection, but other factors may play a role too. For example, certain medications used to treat diabetes can increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Other risk factors include obesity and smoking. Smoking increases your chances of getting pancreatic cancer because it increases the amount of carcinogens in your body which can damage the pancreas.
Surgical Treatments for Pancreatic Cancer
Most of the time, when a person is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer they have already developed metastasis in several other vital organs. Even if the tumor is successfully removed, the patient will not survive more than few months past the operation. Even though this is very sad, medical science has not yet found a way to cure this type of cancer.
The prognosis for pancreatic cancer is not good. The disease is usually found in an advanced stage which makes it inoperable and very difficult to treat. Even if the tumor can be removed, the survival rate is very low and patients never recover completely.
While treatment can extend survival time, it cannot cure this type of cancer. The best thing you can do is to take care of yourself and be as healthy as possible. Eat foods that are low in fat, carbohydrates and cholesterol. Maintain a healthy weight and get plenty of exercise.
Make sure to eat a variety of nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of proteins. Try to limit your intake of processed foods, junk food and foods high in fat. Eat smaller portions throughout the day to avoid feeling hungry. It is important to maintain an exercise program and do at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
Diagnosing Pancreatic Cancer
Most of the time, pancreatic cancer does not cause any noticeable symptoms until the disease has spread. Even then, the symptoms are often very vague and are written off to other more common conditions. This makes the chances of an early diagnosis very low. There is no simple or inexpensive test that can detect pancreatic cancer in its early stages.
This is why it is very important to get regular screenings for type 2 diabetes if you are at risk. Even if you do not have the disease, the screenings can still catch any cancerous cells before they have spread too far.
Pancreatic Cancer Stages
Like other types of cancer, pancreatic cancer is also divided into different stages. The stage is determined by the size of the tumor and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. The main difference is that pancreatic cancer tends to spread in a less predictable way than other types of cancer. For example, a lung cancer patient might find that their disease has spread from their lungs to their lymph nodes and sometimes even their liver.
Pancreatic cancer often spreads in a variety of different ways, with tumors appearing in several different areas all at once.
Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
The only way to try to cure pancreatic cancer is through surgery, but the disease is almost always in an advanced stage by the time it is detected. Even if a surgeon is able to completely remove all of the visible tumors, they still might not be able to save the patient’s life. After surgery, most people are only given a few months to live.
The only treatment options available are aimed at providing relief from pain and other symptoms. These might include chemotherapy, radiation therapy or medications to try to slow the growth of the tumors. These are not considered cures because they do not remove the cancer, they only attempt to control it.
Because there is no effective treatment for this type of cancer and most people die a few months after it is detected, this disease has a very low survival rate.
The Future of Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
Research is always being done on new ways to detect and treat cancer. The earlier a tumor is detected, the greater the chances of survival. Scientists are working to create a simple blood test that can detect pancreatic cancer in its earliest stages. Other tests are also being developed to try to determine if pancreatic tumors are particularly susceptible to certain medications.
Pancreatic cancer is very dangerous and difficult to treat, but ongoing research is helping doctors and scientists make progress. If you are concerned about your risk of developing this disease or you have symptoms that worry you, do not hesitate to contact your physician immediately. Early detection is the key to surviving this terrible disease.
Sources & references used in this article:
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Congenital anomaly of pancreas divisum as cause of obstructive pain and pancreatitis. by PB Cotton – Gut, 1980 – gut.bmj.com
Pancreas divisum is a probable cause of acute pancreatitis: a report of 137 cases by JP Bernard, J Sahel, M Giovannini, H Sarles – Pancreas, 1990 – journals.lww.com
Pancreas divisum: its association with pancreatitis by JA Gregg – The American Journal of Surgery, 1977 – Elsevier
Pancreas divisum: results of minor papilla sphincterotomy by GA Lehman, S Sherman, R Nisi… – Gastrointestinal …, 1993 – giejournal.org