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Stage 2 Pancreatic Cancer

Introduction

The pancreas is a vital organ that helps in regulating blood sugar levels in our body by producing two important hormones glucagon and insulin. Insulin helps the cells to absorb glucose from food digested and glucagon provides nourishment to the body by raising glucose level when it is low.

Cancer might have spread around the pancreas into adjacent tissue and organs or lymph nodes. Stage II is split into the following phases depending on the spread of cancer:

  • Stage IIA: Cancer has progressed to adjacent tissues and organs and not to surrounding lymph nodes, main blood arteries, nerves, and remote locations (T3, N0, and M0).
  • Stage IIB: Cancer has progressed to adjacent tissues and organisms; nevertheless, it has not migrated to distant locations or major blood arteries or nerves (T1, T2 or T3; N1, M0).

Symptoms

In the initial stages of this pancreatic cancer, people typically have no symptoms. However, with the development and propagation of cancer, discomfort frequently occurs in the upper abdomen and occasionally extends to the back. After you eat or lay down, the discomfort may become worse.

Additional symptoms may include:

  • Jaundice
  • Nausea
  • Appetite loss
  • Loss of weight
  • Fatigue 
  • Weakness
  • Depression

Treatment

The treatment for stage 2 pancreatic cancer are as follows:

Treatment OptionDescription
SurgeryOperation to remove the tumor may cure cancer unless it has progressed beyond the pancreas. Your surgeon will maintain as much of the natural pancreas as possible intact. Unfortunately, cancer cells typically expand beyond the pancreas when diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. If the tumor is too big to remove, another kind of operation may be a possibility. The aim is to help alleviate some of the signs and avoid some cancer mass-related issues.
Radiation TherapyHigh-powered radiation is used for radiation treatment to destroy cancer cells. For pancreatic cancer, you would probably receive it for many weeks 5 days a week. This strategy helps preserve the normal tissue by expanding the overall radiation dosage. Radiation is being investigated as a means of killing cancer cells that remain in the region following surgery. Radiation treatment may assist alleviate big tumor discomfort or digestive issues.
ImmunotherapyThis kind of therapy utilizes your immune system to combat pancreatic cancer. Doctors may employ pembrolizumab (Keytruda) to inhibit a protein called PD-1 to fight cancer in the immune system. Lateral effects may include tiredness, skin issues, joint discomfort, and intestinal difficulties (constipation, diarrhea, and nausea). More serious adverse effects may occur if the immune system attacks the body itself.
Targeted TherapyThe drugs used target certain sections of the cancer cells. Targeted treatments appear less adverse than chemotherapy and less damaging to normal cells. Doctors may utilize Erlotinib (Tarceva) together with chemo for the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer.
Palliatives CarePalliative treatment is used in any phase of the pancreatic cancer to relieve the symptoms and control discomfort. It may be used in combination with other medical treatments. The goal is to improve the quality of life in the body, mind, and spirit. Although palliative treatments in extremely late stages of the pancreatic cancer are suitable, they also assist with other cancer-focused treatments.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy utilizes medicines to kill and stop cancer cells from growing or proliferating. You may have one medicine or a mix of medicines. It may be obtained by mouth or injection. The medicines enter the circulation and pass through the organism, making chemotherapy a suitable option for the spread of cancer. You may also get it to destroy any cancer cells that are left behind after surgery. For pancreatic cancer, these chemotherapy medications may be used:

  • 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) or capecitabine (Xeloda)
  • Gemcitabine (Gemzar)

Both 5-FU and gemcitabine are placed in the veins at routine oncologist appointments (cancer doctor). An oral medicine, capecitabine, may be replaced with 5-FU, in particular radiation.

Prognosis

Each stage has five years of survival statistics, however, it is essential to note that these figures reflect an average for patients and families. Every individual is different and it may not work for one person—and vice versa.

Certainly, some patients go beyond their prognosis or even get sick. And throughout the years, overall survival rates have progressively improved, although they are still considerably lower than other malignancies.

Prognostic information pertains to exocrine pancreatic cancer, particularly pancreatic adenocarcinomas, which make up more than 90% of diagnoses. Other less frequent forms of cancer of the pancreas may vary. For example, pancreatic squamous adenocarcinoma has extremely bad results, while neuroendocrine tumors have a more effective prognosis.

Life Expectancy and Survival Rate

The overall survival rate for stage 2 pancreatic cancer is approximately 5% to 7%, but for the restorable, it is around 52%.

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