Overview of Pancreatic Cancer
Although it is often forgotten about, the pancreas is an important organ in the body that sits mainly behind the stomach and in front of the spine. It has one wide end that tapers into a smaller tail end, which is positioned on the left side of the body. The function of the pancreas is to secrete special enzymes that find their way into the small intestine and assist in the breakdown of foods as they pass through the digestive system. However, sometimes the cells inside the pancreas start to grow out of control, and this could indicate the presence of pancreatic cancer. Some types of pancreatic cancer may exhibit clear symptoms, such as jaundice; other types might need the assistance of a Phoenix cancer center such as Phoenix CyberKnife to help with accurate diagnosis.
Types of Affected Cells
There are two main types of cells located in the pancreas: exocrine and endocrine. Exocrine mostly fills the pancreas, and these cells are the ones that assist in the digestive process by breaking down foods as they move into the small intestine.
Endocrine cells, though they make up a smaller portion of the cells in the pancreas, serve the important function of producing the hormones glucagon and insulin, both of which are responsible for regulating the levels of sugar in the blood.
Pancreatic cancer linked to exocrine tumors is the most common type of pancreatic cancer, making up around 95 percent of diagnoses. Endocrine tumors make up the other 5 percent of diagnoses.
Finding the Right Treatment
Pancreatic cancer can be a fast-moving disease and has a one-year survival rate around 20 percent. Early detection and Phoenix pancreatic cancer treatment can help with prognosis. It is even possible to live without the pancreas if it needs to be removed. To learn more about the advanced treatments available at the Phoenix CyberKnife and Radiation Oncology Center, contact us today by calling 602-441-3845.