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Treatment of pancreatic cancer abroad

22 January 2020
Treatment of pancreatic cancer abroad
Pancreatic cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world. Annually, 180 thousand people are diagnosed with the mentioned form of cancer. The morbidity and mortality rates are almost equal, as pancreatic cancer is usually detected too late. Why pancreatic cancer is so dangerous, how not to miss the disease, and how to treat it abroad, you will read in this article.


Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is an oncological disease that affects both the organ itself and its duct.

The pancreas consists of a head, tail and body. The pancreatic duct runs through the entire organ, it is located inside the gland. The gland is located on the back of the abdomen behind the stomach. The body produces enzymes that help to smash the food into pieces. The pancreas also controls the level of sugar in the blood.

A malignant neoplasm develops in the head, tail or body of the organ and, sometimes affects it completely. In most patients, the neoplasm is found in the head of the gland, less often in the body and even less in the tail. In approximately 5% of cases, the tumor completely affects the organ.

The disease is aggressive and difficult to treat. Pancreatic cancer rapidly affects neighboring organs. As a rule, the disease produces metastases in the liver. Abnormal cells quickly spread along the peritoneum, which makes tumor resection surgery almost impossible.


Why does pancreatic cancer occur?

Although the cause of the disease is unknown, there are factors that can trigger the development of pancreatic cancer.

  1. Tobacco smoking. Tobacco smoke contains nitrosamine, a dangerous nitrogen-containing compound that can cause illness;
  2. Consumption of oily and spicy foods;
  3. Bad eating habits. An unhealthy diet means eating a lot of animal fats, sugar, canned foods and not enough fiber;
  4. Alcohol abuse;
  5. Heredity;
  6. Age. The average age of patients with pancreatic cancer is 67 years;
  7. Diabetes.
Precancerous diseases include:

  1. Pancreatic adenoma;
  2. Chronic pancreatitis;
  3. Pancreatic cyst.

Inflammatory diseases of the liver and pancreas, such as cirrhosis and pancreatitis, significantly increase the risk of cancer development.


Symptoms of pancreatic cancer

When cells just begin to mutate, the body emits subtle signals that most patients ignore. Patients go to the doctor only when the body’s signals already show that something is wrong.

At this point, the tumor reaches an impressive size, it is already impossible to remove the tumor surgically. Pancreatic cancer in the early stages is diagnosed in only 3.5% of patients. That is why the prognosis of treatment is unfavorable.

Signs and characteristic of pancreatic cancer include:

  • Appetite and weight loss;
  • General weakness;
  • Fever;
  • Constipation and bloating;
  • Decreased working ability;
  • Jaundice skin, mucous membranes and eyeballs;
  • Feces of the light color;
  • Itching;
  • Back pain;
  • Nausea;
  • The appearance of diabetes;

If a tumor forms in the head of the gland, jaundice is a characteristic sign of a malignant process. The appearance of a neoplasm in the tail of an organ is indicated by pain in the lumbar region, which can be confused with osteochondrosis.


Types of Pancreatic Cancer

Most patients (80%) with a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer are diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, a tumor that is localized in the head, rarely in the pancreatic duct, from glandular tissue.

Pancreatic squamous cell carcinoma usually develops in the head of the pancreas and accounts for 4% of all cases of morbidity. This disease often affects men.

Acinar cancer can occur in the head or body of the gland. A malignant tumor is found not only in elderly people but also among young ones. The frequency of occurrence is 1.5%.
Cystadenocarcinoma is a cystic tumor that is localized in the body of the gland, this type of cancer accounts for 1% of all cases of morbidity.

Undifferentiated cancer is an extremely rare type of tumor lesion of the gland. This type of cancer is found in less than 1% of patients. Undifferentiated cancer is characterized by slow growth and poor ability to metastasize. This is the only pancreatic cancer prognosis of which is favorable. In all other cases, the average survival of patients is from 2 to 10 months after the detection of the disease.


Stages of pancreatic cancer

The stage of pancreatic cancer is determined depending on the size of the tumor, the degree of damage to the lymph nodes and the presence of distant metastases. To determine the stage, the TNM classification is used, which allows a detailed description of the disease and degree of its spread.

  • The first stage of the disease is characterized by small tumor sizes - the neoplasm does not exceed 2 cm, affects only the gland and does not produce metastases;
  • During the second stage, the size of the tumor lesion is more than 2 cm, the neoplasm occupies a large part of the organ, but does not extend beyond the gland;
  • At the third stage, the process of damage to regional lymph nodes and neighboring organs - the stomach, spleen, begins;
  • During the fourth stage, the tumor penetrates into distant organs, such as the liver or lungs, and produces metastases.

Diagnosis of pancreatic cancer abroad

Timely referring to specialists and high-quality diagnostics are very important. The sooner a patient is found to have a tumor, the more likely it is to cure the disease. Diagnosis of the disease is carried out using:

  • CT scan;
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging;
  • Ultrasound Examination.

All three types of examinations allow determination of where the tumor is located, whether the lymphatic system and other organs are affected. The diagnosis is confirmed with biopsy – taking tissue samples for examination. A biopsy is usually performed during laparoscopy, an examination of the abdominal cavity with an endoscope, at the end of which a camera is attached.

There are diagnostic methods that allow the confirmation or denial of the diagnosis with an accuracy of 99%. Such methods include endoscopic ultrasonography, combining the advantages of the ultrasound examination method and endoscopy. Using an ultrasound transmitter attached to an endoscope, a doctor can examine the thickness of the intestinal wall and neighboring organs.

Diagnosis depends on the qualifications and experience of doctors and the equipment using which the patient is examined. The Caucasus Medical Center, located in Tbilisi, offers diagnostic services of cancer and other diseases. The center is equipped with modern equipment that allows the identification of tumors with high accuracy, without causing the patient any inconvenience. Doctors with extensive experience work at the hospital, many of whom have gained experience while working at clinics of Germany and other countries.
To get a diagnosis at the Caucasus Medical Center, it is not necessary to be a Georgian citien. The hospital receives international residents, the medical staff makes sure that patients feel comfortable.

The clinic has an oncohematological department, where patients with cancer are treated. Doctors of the Caucasus Medical Center carry out complex tumor resection surgeries. The center collaborates with world-famous hospitals and the Ministry of Health of Georgia.


Treatment of pancreatic cancer abroad

The most effective method of treatment of pancreatic cancer is tumor resection. Unfortunately, the operation is not always possible. If the tumor has metastasized, surgery does not make sense. In this case, the treatment is aimed at alleviating the symptoms of the disease and improving the quality of life of the patient.


Surgical treatment of pancreatic cancer abroad

Surgical treatment of cancer refers to the complete or partial removal of the neoplasm. The tumor removal surgery during the pancreatic cancer is called pancreatoduodenal resection. This is one of the most difficult operations, which can only be performed by experienced doctors. As often after surgery, the patient has complications.


Chemoradiation treatment abroad

Chemotherapy is prescribed to patients in order to reduce the tumor size and make it possible to carry out the surgery. Some patients are prescribed more than 6 courses of chemotherapy. If the patient's body responds positively to drugs, the tumor is affected by radiotherapy and only then proceed to surgery.

Some patients are immune to chemotherapy, while others respond so poorly to drugs that they have to cancel treatment. In general, a combination of all three treatment methods can prolong the life of individual patients for five years or more.

If the patient is inoperable and does not respond well to chemotherapy, the tumor is affected by radiation therapy. The patient receives a low dose of radiation, which reduces pain. If treatment is aimed to save the patient’s life, higher doses of radiation are used.


Cancer Treatment at the Caucasus Medical Center

The Caucasus Medical Center uses chemoradiation to treat pancreatic cancer in cases where the tumor cannot be removed surgically. Doctors of the hospital strive to extend the lives of patients and facilitate the course of the disease. At the clinic, cancer patients are treated using HIFU therapy, which allows significant progress in treatment.

The Caucasus Medical Center is part of the Georgian chain of hospitals - Evex, and is the largest multidisciplinary hospital chain. The hospital specializes in the treatment of cancer; cancer patients from all over the world are visiting the clinic. The center is equipped with modern equipment and designed according to international standards.

The pride of the hospital is experienced doctors and medical staff. They save patients' lives and do everything to make them feel comfortable during the treatment. So, cancer patients are provided with psychological assistance, and patients undergoing treatment in a hospital are provided with round-the-clock care. Patients receive help and assistance even after undergoing treatment. Doctors give recommendations on further actions before discharge from the hospital.

Becoming a patient at the clinic is very easy. You just have to leave a request on the site and choose the time of the visit. International residents do not need to worry about booking tickets and accommodation, hospital staff will take care of all administrative matters. On the website of the Caucasus Medical Center, you can read the reviews of patients who were treated at the clinic.