Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is a malignant, aggressive tumor characterized by uncontrolled overgrowth of glandular and epithelial tissue in the organ’s exit ducts. The insidiousness of the disease lies in the fact that the gland is surrounded by organs of the abdominal cavity, so the pathology is very difficult to diagnose in the early stages of development. Because of this, cancer is characterized by a high mortality rate. The tumor may be localized in different parts of the gland, and for a long time, the tumor process may be asymptomatic. As a rule, once detected, the tumor is already incurable and cannot be treated well, so it is important to know what leads to the appearance of the neoplasm, as well as ways to diagnose it, so that measures can be taken to remove it in time. In this article we will talk about Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer. 

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer

A cancerous tumor develops aggressively and rapidly metastasizes to surrounding tissues and lymph nodes. With the flow of lymph, atypical cells penetrate to other organs. The danger of pathology is that at the initial stage of the disease there are no alarming symptoms. Early signs of pancreatic cancer are similar to food poisoning, which does not allow you to suspect the presence of a dangerous tumor. These are:

  • dyspepsia — frequent and liquid stools;
  • heaviness and discomfort in the epigastric region;
  • symptoms of diabetes mellitus (high blood sugar, unquenchable thirst, itchy skin, etc.);
  • loss of appetite;
  • rapid fatigue.
  • intoxication of the body. Caused by breakdown products of the tumor, entering through the bloodstream into other organs. 

How to check the pancreas for cancer

At the initial stages, cancer is most often detected accidentally. If there is a suspicion of pathology, pancreatic cancer diagnosis is carried out:

  • General laboratory tests — general urinalysis, biochemical blood tests, determination of blood sugar levels, tests for oncomarkers, amylase enzyme activity and others.
  • Ultrasound. Allows to detect diffuse changes in the organs of the abdominal cavity and determine the location of the pathological entity.
  • Computer tomography. The procedure is more informative than ultrasound, allows visualization of internal organs in three dimensions and, thanks to the contrast substance, helps detect small neoplasms and metastases.
  • MRI. The most informative type of diagnostics. It is performed with intravenous injection of contrast agent, allowing detection of oncopathology and metastases in the earliest stages.
  • Endoscopic retrograde pancreato cholangiography. It is performed to study the pancreatic ducts with an endoscope and obtain an informative X-ray image.

Sometimes instrumental studies do not allow an accurate diagnosis due to difficulties in differential diagnosis of some forms of benign neoplasms with similar symptoms. In such situations, the diagnosis is clarified by cytological and histological examination of tissues obtained by biopsy.