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Pancreatic Cancer - Research Paper Example

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Pancreatic Cancer Instructor University Pancreatic Cancer Introduction: Malignant cancers are considered to be among most devastating medical conditions not only because of associated high mortality rate but the way it affects the quality of life of the victim…
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Pancreatic Cancer Research Paper
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Download file to see previous pages In the past two decades, research has concluded that cancer is a genetic disease (Reber 1998). Alteration in the DNA molecules can lead an abnormal and uncontrolled growth of any cell. Although, cancer can affect virtually any cells in a human body pancreatic cancer has been a topic of debate because of its relatively poor prognosis and a reputation of being a silent killer. Among all cancer deaths, pancreatic cancer is assumed to be the fourth most common cause. Therefore, it is very crucial to understand the different types of pancreatic cancers and their clinical presentation to identify their existence at early stages. Anatomy of Pancreas: A review of anatomical location and orientation of pancreas is crucial as to diagnose an abdominal mass to be pancreatic in origin. Pancreas is an elongated retroperitoneal organ located transversely across the posterior abdominal wall. It lies posterior to the stomach between spleen and the duodenum. Pancreas can be divided into four parts that includes head, neck, body and tail. Head is the widest part and is situated in the C shaped curve of the duodenum. Inferior vena cava and the renal vasculatures are important structures in close proximity to the head of pancreas. The neck of the pancreas is a relatively short part that lies anterior to the Superior mesenteric vessels. Behind this part two important veins, superior mesenteric veins and splenic vein joins to form Portal vein. Body of the pancreas is a tapered part located posterior to the omental bursa and in close proximity to the aorta at the level of L2 vertebra. The tail also known as cauda pancreatis is the terminal end of the body and is situated near the gastric surface of the spleen. Because of its close association to the spleen much of the blood supply of this region is shared by the two organs. Physiological Function: Pancreas serves two main purposes in our body. It acts as both an exocrine and endocrine gland. The exocrine part of the pancreas forms about 90% of the total mass. The exocrine secretions include the pancreatic juices that are required for the digestion of the food. These secretions include enzymes such as amylase, lipase and proteases that are secreted into the pancreatic duct that opens into the duodenum. From the histological aspect, these exocrine secretions are produced by cells arranged into acini, known as acinar cells. They are trapezoid in shape and contain granular cytoplasm with nuclei located near the base. The rest of the 10% of pancreatic tissue is formed by the endocrine part that consists of islets of Langerhans distributed throughout the organ. But most of these endocrine cells are clustered at the tail end of the pancreas. Alpha and Beta cells are the two main types of endocrine cells that produce Glucagon and Insulin respectively. Other types of endocrine cells are also evident on immunohistochemistry that secretes vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), Somatostatin and other hormones. Pancreatic Cancer Epidemiology: In United States, pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer related mortalities. Certain factors predispose its occurrence in the general population such as age and gender. The data collected over the years has shown trends that the incidence of pancreatic cancer increases with age and it affect male population more than the female population with a 3 to 1 ratio for those younger than 40 years of age. The divergence of ratio between the gender declines slightly as the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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