Early detection of Pancreatic Cancer!

The more hidden your body tissue/organ, the more challenging it is to know the health condition of that tissue or organ. Pancreatic Cancer is one such malignant disorder of Pancreas that is extremely notorious for being detected at a later stage. It is normally obscure and is detected mostly in the terminal stages when it is full blown and has spread to multiple other organs. So, it is more critical to screen patients earlier and be aware of various contemporary methods used to establish its diagnosis.

Physical Examination

You should immediately visit a physician on the occurrence of symptoms like yellowing of eyes, dark urine, pain in the belly, bloating, weight loss, loss of appetite etc. You shouldn’t ignore these. According to your physical examination, your doctor will advise you to undergo other confirmatory tests such as blood tests, and imaging tests like CT scan, MRI scan or Ultrasonography.

What are various medical tests for its detection?

Imaging tests- These tests will help the doctor to establish any abnormal malignant growth of Pancreas. CT scan is most commonly used as it helps to better diagnose the Pancreatic Cancer and also helps to locate the spread of a tumour commonly referred to as Metastasis.

MRI is another technology that utilizes magnetic radiations to view the inside of the body. It is safer than a CT scan because it doesn’t use X-rays. Similarly,

ultrasound investigation uses sound waves instead of X-rays. It is the first choice of test for patients who complain of abdominal pain. But abdominal pain can be due to anything. If there are signs of cancerous growth as detected by Ultrasound, doctors still advise a CT scan which is more diagnostic for proper localisation of a tumour.

Blood tests- Usually, cancer pre-screening involves using Tumour markers in blood. It has been observed by the doctors that  CA 19-9 and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) are the tumour markers associated with the detection of Pancreatic Cancer. But many times even in the presence of Pancreatic Cancer, there is no significant rise in the level of this tumour marker which can possibly detect cancer at the earliest. But their presence will definitely raise an alarm signal.

Genetic Test- Is it possible to get yourself tested whether you are at high risk for Pancreatic Cancer or not? Yes, it is. But this requires high expertise from skilled professionals like geneticists or oncologists. Also, a genetic test still isn’t very reliable to predict the occurrence of Pancreatic cancer in you. But it can definitely predict your vulnerability for cancer.

Hence, you have to seek help from experienced medical professionals to establish the right diagnosis before it gets too late. As medical technology has advanced enormously in recent years and brought hope for cancer patients, it is possible to beat this deadly disease if detected at an early stage.

All you need to know about Neuroendoscopy – The minimally-invasive brain tumor surgery

The word Endoscopy may seem scary but those of you who’ve had one will know that it’s just a simple and less painful surgery than the classical one. Neuroendoscopy is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure in which the Neurosurgeons make tiny holes in the patient’s skull to remove a tumor. These holes created on the skull are usually the size of a small thumb ring. An Endoscope is an instrument used by the surgeons to perform an endoscopy. An endoscope is a thin tube which has a camera or a lens at one end, and a light at the other. The lens transmits the images to the surgeon’s eye and the light helps them to see the organs clearly because, well, it’s dark in there.

The neurosurgeon receives specialized training to practice Neuroendoscopic surgeries. Neuroendoscopy is preferred by almost all the doctors nowadays because of its safe nature. During the healthy tissues are not disturbed at all and the surgery is not much complicated so the outcomes are always excellent. Neuroendoscopy enables the surgeons to access the areas of the body that cannot be reached with traditional surgery. It is also effective in removing the tumor without harming the other parts of the brain or the skull. The traditional method of tumor removal from the brain was a bit more complicated and came with a lot of risk or tissue damage. Neuroendoscopy is less painful, leaves behind minimal scars, and offers a faster recovery than the traditional surgery.

Improvement of fibre optics and imaging has led to brilliant advancements in Neuroendoscopy. Since the beginning of modern medicine, neurosurgeons have tried to come up with new and efficient ways to remove an intracranial tumor The use of endoscope has revolutionized the way how a tumor used to be treated and not only brain tumors but other neurological disorders too.

The first neurosurgical endoscopy was done by a surgeon named L’Espinasse in 1910 on two infants with hydrocephalus for choroid plexus fulguration using a cystoscope. Unfortunately, the surgery was successful with only one infant. But Neuroendoscopy has come a long way since L’Espinasse and his cystoscope and with the advancements in technology, the future seems bright. With the miniaturization of cameras and optical technology, robotics system, innovation in surgical instruments etc, the field of neurology will surely benefit.