Exocrine tumors form in ducts of the pancreas,[adenocarcinomas] and make up 95% of cases.
Endocrine tumors [neuroendocrine] make up 5% of pancreatic cancers, more commonly referred to as islet cell tumors or pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs).
- Race (more common in African Americans)
- Gender (more common in men than women)
- Religious background
- Chronic inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
- Family history of syndromes that increase cancer risk
- Family history of pancreatic cancer
- Cigarette smoking*
*Johns Hopkins Medicine (2016) reports one in four cases is caused by cigarette smoking and it is currently the leading preventable cause of pancreatic cancer.
Stages 1A and 1B: Tumor not exceeding 2cm, completely within pancreas.
Stage 2A: Cancer spreads to nearby tissues/organs but not lymph nodes.
Stage 2B: Cancer spread to nearby lymph nodes but not tissues/organs.
Stage 3: Cancer has spread to major blood vessels including superior mesenteric artery, celiac axis, common hepatic artery, portal vein; may have spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Stage 4. Cancer may be of any size and has spread to distant organs, such as the liver, lung, and peritoneal cavity. It may have also spread to organs/tissues near the pancreas or to lymph nodes.
Signs and symptoms are not typically seen until stages III or IV, hence the disease is often undetected or undiagnosed until later stages - hence poor survival rates.
Stage IV pancreatic cancer has a five-year survival rate of 1%.
Once the tumors have metastasized, surgery is no longer a viable option, and patients typically turn to others forms of allopathic treatment.
SURGICAL & OTHER TREATMENT
- Pancreatoduodenectomy ("Whipple") - removal of pancreatic tumor on the head of the pancreas.
- Laparoscopic surgery - removal of pancreatic tumor located on the tail of the pancreas.
- Radiation - high-energy beams administered externally in order to destroy cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy - oral or IV drug administration.
- Doctors prescribing additional, strong, narcotics for pain management.
- Clinical trials
SIGNS, SYMPTOMS, & COMPLICATIONS
(Primarily seen in advanced stages III or IV)
- Weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting (often side effect of chemo)
- Pain or discomfort in stomach or abdominal region
- Loss of appetite
- Altered pancreas functioning, lack of digestive fluids produced
PRIORITIZE THE GOAL OF TREATMENT IN PANCREATIC CANCER - TO PROLONG SURVIVAL AND MAINTAIN OR IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR THE PATIENT.
Based on the research present and available, and a vast history of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgical treatments for pancreatic cancer, while there is no cure, the implementation of nutritional therapies in collaboration with allopathic treatments can greatly improve the quality of life and prolong survival in patients with end-stage pancreatic cancer. These specific therapies include fish oil supplementation, vitamin D supplementation, and following a ketogenic diet. These results rely on patient compliance, minimized or eliminated bias, and practitioner collaboration.
INTERVENTIONS IN THE RESEARCH
Cruciferous vegetable consumption - cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower.