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Pancreatic Cancer Essay

1709 words - 7 pages

Pancreatic cancer is when malignant cancer cells are found in the tissue of the pancreas. The pancreas is an organ found behind the stomach, in front of the spine. It is divided into three different sections: the head, body, and tail. The head is located at the wider end of the pancreas and the tail towards the narrow end. The pancreas is made up of two different glands. They are the exocrine and endocrine glands (Bethesda, 2013). The pancreas has two different functions. The exocrine gland secretes a pancreatic juice into the intestines. This secretion contains three different enzymes. They are pancreatic lipase, amylase, and proteolytic enzymes. These enzymes are secreted by acinar cells to help break fats, carbohydrates, and proteins that are ingested from the foods that we eat. It also secrete an aqueous alkaline solution into the ducts of the pancreas. This solution is secreted by the cells inside of the ducts (Sherwood, 2013).
There are two different types of pancreatic tumors. They are exocrine tumors and endocrine tumors. Exocrine tumors are more common than endocrine tumors. Exocrine tumors accounts for 95% of pancreatic tumors. Exocrine tumors forms in the exocrine cells that help produce and secrete the pancreatic enzymes. Most of the exocrine tumors are consider to be adenocarcinomas (Pancreatic Exocrine Tumors, 2013). Endocrine tumors accounts for less than 5% of pancreatic tumors. They can either be benign or malignant tumors. Compared to exocrine tumors, the endocrine tumors grow much slower. Endocrine tumors are either functional meaning the produce hormones or nonfunctional meaning they cannot produce any hormones. Most of the functional endocrine tumors are benign while 90% of the nonfunctional tumors are cancerous (Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors, 2013).
Once cancer cells have broken away from the initial tumor, they can easily travels through the body and form new tumors in different places. Pancreatic cancer can spread throughout the body in three different ways. The first way is through the tissue in the body. The cancer can affect normal body tissue and continue to spread forming new tumors. The second way cancer can spread is through the blood. The cells can travel through the veins and capillaries causing other tumors throughout the body. The third way cancer spreads is through the lymphatic system.
Pancreatic Cancer is very hard to find at an early stage. There are many different stages that someone can be diagnosed at. The sooner someone is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer the better their chances are at surviving. The first stage is stage 0 or carcinoma in situ (Bethesda, 2013). At this stage, abnormal cells have been found in the pancreas but has not spread to any normal tissue nearby. Next is stage I. During this stage cancer has formed in the pancreas only. This stage is also divided into stage IA and stage IB (Bethesda, 2013). If the tumor is...

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