The pancreas is a vital organ in the human body and is located inside the small intestine. He is responsible for the production of juices that break down food and hormones. This allows the body to produce insulin, which regulates energy needs. If cancerous growth is diagnosed in the pancreas, it can be fatal. Medical science has classified cancer growth into 4 different stages. The early diagnosis of cancer is one of the keys to increasing the life expectancy of people suffering from cancer. Doctors use diagnostic tests such as ultrasound, CT and biopsy to try to detect pancreatic cancer. Diagnosis is difficult, since most cancer symptoms are synonymous with other diseases.
Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer
A cancer is classified as stage 4 if there is metastasis, that is, diffusion to other parts of the body and is not limited to the pancreas. In addition, it is divided into two groups: stage 4A and 4B. Pancreatic cancer classified as stage 4A is limited to the pancreas and nearby blood vessels and organs. In stage 4B, cancer cells spread from the tissue of the pancreas to distant organs. Some of the vital organs that may be affected by pancreatic cancer are the liver, lungs, spleen, stomach, etc.
When pancreatic cancer reaches this stage, it has very few treatment options available. Unlike other stages of cancer, surgery is ruled out in stage 4 and chemotherapy is preferred. However, chemotherapy is used as part of the pain treatment technique and not as a cure. In some cases, surgery is performed to relieve some of the symptoms of cancer to improve the quality of life of patients.
The life expectancy of cancer that is commonly discussed in terms of survival rate is 5 years. This is used as a parameter to classify patients who live more than 5 years after diagnosis. In the United States, deaths related to pancreatic cancer were marked at 35,000 by 2009. Just as there are different stages of cancer, the life expectancy rate varies at these stages. Stage 4 has the lowest life expectancy rate, since cancer affects other organs of the body at this stage. It is considered as a fatal stage for most types of cancer, but with proper treatment, the life expectancy rate can increase. Life habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption also play an important role in the survival rate of patients.
People diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer have a very low survival rate, only 1 percent survive for up to 5 years. This number, however, varies depending on many factors, such as treatment options, patient health, and most importantly – the stage at which the diagnosis was made. The patient’s age also plays an important role in deciding the expected survival rate in pancreatic cancer. Therefore, it is advisable to speak with the doctor to verify if there is an estimated life expectancy rate, as they may vary from one individual to another. With the new drugs that come on the market and current clinical trials, the life expectancy of stage 4 cancer patients is also expected to increase.
Family members of patients suffering from cancer have to understand that these statistics are only for doctors’ reference, and each case is unique. Disease management techniques are evolving day by day along with the understanding of cancer and its development. These are all good signs in favor of the fight against this disease.