Pancreatic Cancer, Gall Bladder Cancer, Liver Cancer

About Pancreatic Cancer :

The pancreas is a gland which is located in the abdomen- behind the stomach and in front of the spine. Cancer is a class of diseases which is characterized by uncontrollable cell growth, and pancreatic cancer occurs when this uncontrolled cell growth begins in the pancreas. Rather than developing into fit, normal pancreas tissue, these atypical cells continue dividing and form masses of tissue called tumors.

Risk Factors :

The exact causes of pancreatic cancer are still unknown, however there are few factors that increase the risk, these are:

  • Smoking: Cigarettes, cigars, pipes and chewing tobacco. All of them increases the risk of pancreatic cancer
  • Medical conditions: Risk of pancreatic cancer is increased if you have a record of
    • Stomach ulcer
    • Diabetes
    • Hereditary pancreatitis
    • Hepatitis virus infection etc.
  • Alcohol: 7 out of 10 cases of chronic cancer is due to long term drinking
  • Diet: Daily excess red meat consumption is linked to pancreatic cancer
  • Genetics: 5-10% of people with pancreatic cancer have an immediate family member who also had the disease.

The most common types of cancer of the pancreas are exocrine tumours and the symptoms can be pretty vague. Also they vary depending on where the cancer is located in the pancreas – head, body or tail.

Symptoms :

  • Pain in the upper abdomen or back
  •  Jaundice: a condition that causes yellowing of the eyes and skin and darkening of urine
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Itching: if you have bad jaundice you might encounter itching
  • Blood clots may form in the deep veins in the legs
  • Nausea and vomiting

Also, newly developed diabetes is a sign in ten to twenty percent cases of cancer. This is caused by the cancerous pancreas inability to produce insulin.


About Gallbladder Cancer :

There are lots of different types of cells in the gallbladder. Any of these cell types could, in theory, develop into cancer that’s why there is more than one type of gallbladder.

More than 85 out of every 100 gallbladder cancers (85%) are adenocarcinomas. This means that the cancer started in gland cells in the gallbladder lining. The gland cells normally produce mucus (thick fluid). There are three types of adenocarcinomas of the gallbladder.

  • Non papillary adenocarcinoma
  • Papillary adenocarcinoma
  • Mucinous adenocarcinoma

More than 75 out of every 100 gallbladder cancers (75%) are non-papillary adenocarcinomas. Only about 6 out of every 100 diagnosed gallbladder cancers (6%) are papillary adenocarcinomas. These develop in the tissues that hold the gallbladder in place (connective tissues). This type of gallbladder cancer is less likely to spread to the liver and nearby lymph nodes. It tends to have a better outlook than most other types of gallbladder cancer. With mucinous adenocarcinomas, the cancer cells are often in pools of mucus, which is how the cancer gets its name. Only about 1 or 2 out of every 100 gallbladder cancers (1 or 2%) are mucinous adenocarcinomas.

About Liver Cancer :

Liver cancer or Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the commonest cancers in the world especially in countries like India which have a high incidence of Hepatitis B infection. Apart from Hepatitis B, it may be caused by other diseases that lead to cirrhosis of the liver (see below) such as Hepatitis C infection, and alcohol abuse.

Unfortunately, like many other cancers, liver cancer may go undetected until a late stage. It is often brought to attention by an ultrasound or CT scan done for pain in the upper abdomen or another unrelated symptom. It may also develop in a person previously known to have cirrhosis of the liver. Once suspected, Alpha feto protein (AFP) is a simple blood test to confirm its presence. At times, a malignant tumour in the liver may be due to a secondary spread from a cancer elsewhere, commonly the large intestine. .