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Diabetes can lead to pancreatic cancer: Find out causes, symptoms and treatment options here

Pancreatic cancer too can not only lead to insulin resistance by increasing the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas but can also simultaneously lead to a loss in insulin production capacity. 

Published: 29th November 2020 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th November 2020 01:19 AM   |  A+A-

Recovery, medical, doctor, hospital treatment

For representational purposes

Express News Service

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers in India and has an unusual mortality rate. The increasing number of fatalities are majourly due to the detection of the disease at a later stage. This makes early detection, timely treatment and identification of high-risk people extremely important.

How does Type 2 diabetes cause pancreatic cancer? Type 2 Diabetes requires a higher level of insulin than normal diabetes. This increases the pressure on one’s pancreas to generate more insulin and hence, this is considered as one of the primary reasons for how diabetes can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer among diabetic patients. Furthermore, pancreatic cancer too can not only lead to insulin resistance by increasing the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas but can also simultaneously lead to a loss in insulin production capacity. 

Does the duration of diabetes increase risk? The longer you have diabetes, the higher the risk. How can pancreatic cancer be detected? Diagnosis for pancreatic cancer usually begins when someone visits a doctor after experiencing symptoms for weeks or months. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer frequently include abdominal pain, weight loss, itching, or jaundice (yellow skin). The doctor then uses the following lab tests in search for a cause: 

= Liver Function Test (LFT)
= CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis 
= Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)
= Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
= Biopsy for histology confirmation
= Pet CT scan of the whole body to detect the spread 
= Tumour marker test to measure to amounts of certain substances like Z CA 19-9 and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). linked to specific types of cancer when found in increased levels in the body.  

Treatment options? In the early stages, as the cancer is of small size, it can be removed surgically. In advanced stages, treatment options used are chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy. 

We need to understand that cancer is curable if timely detection and treatment are provided. Therefore, spreading awareness about this disease has now become imperative and people are now required to be aware of the possible therapeutic solutions. 

The author is a lead consultant at Biochemistry, Aster Labs



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