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.
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.