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Pancreatic Cancer Essay

1216 words - 5 pages

The actions of pancreatic cancer can be compared to that of a shark. Silent but deadly, it takes its victims without warning, attacking when least expected. The sheer stealth of it takes everyone by surprise and leaves lives in ruins. Both among the deadliest of its kind, with pancreatic cancer being the fifth most deadly cancer in the world. Pancreatic cancer is known for its efficient destruction, with only vague symptoms displayed in the later stages of the disease, early treatment and diagnosis is very rare, resulting in swift consequences once diagnosed. Invading the pancreas with carcinoma causes many other diseases throughout the body, such as diabetes, masking the true cause of the ...view middle of the document...

Alcohol is also frequently associated with pancreatic cancer (Bullock, 1996; Hidalgo, 2010). It has the capability to cause oxidative damage to the pancreas (Science Daily, 2014). This leads way to an inflammatory infection in the pancreas, and it is this inflammation from the alcohol which increases the probability of pancreatic cancer (Science Daily, 2014).
Pancreatitis is another form of inflammation of the pancreas, however this time caused by overactive enzymes in the pancreas (JHU, 2012). There are two main forms of pancreatitis; Chronic and Hereditary. Chronic pancreatitis is a long term inflammation of the pancreas (CRUK, 2014). Like alcohol, it does increase the chance of pancreatic cancer, however it is not accountable for a majority of the cases (CRUK, 2014). Hereditary pancreatitis however is on the other end of the spectrum. It subjects 50% of the people suffering this rare condition to having pancreatic cancer before they are 75 years old (CRUK, 2014). Inherited from one dominant faulty gene of either parent (CRUK, 2014), it is easily passed on to future generations. CRUK (2014) indicates that it is thought to have the highest cause to case ratio effect on pancreatic cancer, however as it is are rare condition the overall number of pancreatic cases caused from hereditary pancreatitis is few.
JHU (2012) reveals that having a peptic ulcer also increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. Having a stomach ulcer doubles the chance of getting pancreatic cancer (CRUK, 2014). CRUK (2014) shows that due to the release of nitrosamine chemicals produced from the bacteria formed in the stomach, the effects of peptic ulcers on the cancer is very similar to that of smoking.
Although not entirely understood at this current time, genetic factors are also presumed to cause pancreatic cancer (Cybergene Diagnostics, 2009; Hidalgo 2010). JHU (2012) illustrates a pattern of pancreatic cancer running in the family histories of approximately 10% of patients. It also shows that the more relatives an individual has that has had pancreatic cancer, the more likely they are to have it as well. Although these factors are known, the gene which causes pancreatic cancer is still unidentified although research is in progress to determine this gene (JHU, 2012).
Age is another common denominator in the trend of pancreatic cancer (Bullock, 1996; Hidalgo, 2010). Hidalgo (2010) verifies that pancreatic cancer is more common in the elderly, with very rare cases involving people under 40 and majority of the cases found in people over 60. Although there is no known factor as to why it occurs later in life, it is presumed that the longer life span has allowed more time for the cancer to multiply and grow, and without any early symptoms shown it has lots of time to manifest.

Works Cited

Bowen, R. (1995). Control of pancreatic exocrine secretion. Retrieved from...

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