The pancreas, while small in shape and form, is a powerful tool to the healthy function of your body. For individuals who suffer from pancreatic complications, from cancer to diabetes, these major bodily functions are altered, leading to complications that will impact the quality of life.
One such pancreatic condition, known as Islet cell cancer, is a rare form of cancer in the pancreatic tissue causing extreme complication in the islet cells whose responsibility it is to provide specific hormonal functions to the body, including the production of insulin.
As with most cancers, islet cell cancer is best treated when it is diagnosed early. Staging, as seen in other cancer classifications, is common with islet cell cancer as well. When suffering from symptoms of fatigue, diarrhea, stomach pain and even excessive weight gain, even when dieting, consider consulting a healthcare professional early as testing may be necessary to rule out a condition such as islet cell cancer.
When diagnosed with islet cell cancer, there are limited options for treatment. Most often, a general surgeon will remove the tumor or area of the pancreas that is affected and which point a round of chemotherapy is usually indicated. In addition to these treatments, because the pancreas is essentially damaged due to the affects of islet cell cancer, hormone therapy is also required.
One of the key areas of concern with islet cell cancer is the relatively easy spread of the condition into the liver. For this reason the surgeon may often recommend additional surgery in which the hepatic artery is immobilized in order to ward off any potential cancers of the liver. Additionally, the surgeon may also find it necessary to remove part of the stomach and the lymph nodes so as to prevent further spreading of the islet cell cancer.
The key to avoiding these most extreme complications of islet cell cancer is to seek early diagnosis and intervention when symptoms initially appear. Because most patients recognize, first, a significant weight gain, the islet cell cancer can be easily misdiagnosed by a family practitioner. Most often, a complete physical by an endocrinologist or internal medicine specialist will provide a more effective method in which to obtain proper diagnosis.
With many Americans suffering from complications of the pancreas, attributed to diabetes, there is also increasing concern over the significant number of adults who also now suffer from islet cell cancer. To ensure your pancreas health is kept at optimal levels, practice a healthy lifestyle, with diet and exercise, and follow your doctor’s instructions, especially if you are at risk for cancer of the pancreas.