Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month
In honor of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, our team at Power Rogers & Smith, L.L.P. wanted to give readers information regarding pancreatic cancer, its treatment options, and what happens if it is not properly diagnosed.
What Is the Function of the Pancreas?
The pancreas is an organ in your abdominal area that secretes enzymes and hormones. The enzymes are used by the body to help with digestion while the hormones aid in the regulation of the metabolism of sugars. Pancreatic cancer is formed when the cells of the pancreas develop mutations in their DNA.
How Serious is Pancreatic Cancer?
It is extremely important to act quickly if any sign of pancreatic cancer. This type of cancer can spread throughout the body quickly. Often, by the time a person is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it is already in the advanced stages and treatment is much more difficult. It is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths because some signs or symptoms may not even appear until surgical treatment is no longer possible due to the advanced stage of the cancer.
What are the Symptoms?
No matter how far along the cancer is, making sure you are aware of the signs and symptoms is important. This could be the key in making the discovery in a timely manner. Pancreatic cancer can often be associated with pain in the upper abdomen, weight loss and loss of appetite, depression, and blood clots. You may notice that you develop jaundice where your skin and the whites of your eyes begin to turn yellow.
How is it Diagnosed?
Pancreatic cancer is diagnosed using numerous tests. These include the following:
- CT scan
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
During the testing process, the medical professional should be able to determine if pancreatic cancer is present, as well as the stage. If it is not diagnosed properly, it could be considered malpractice. This is a case in which the doctor either didn’t have enough training or simply ignored results. If this happens and the patient suffers serious pain, or even death, a medical malpractice lawsuit (and wrongful death claim in the event of fatality) may be brought forth.
Are There Any Treatment Options?
This depends on the stage of the cancer and other health factors. Surgery may be a possibility if the entire amount can be removed through this method. Radiation and chemotherapy are used for later stages when surgery is no longer a possibility.
Can it be Prevented?
While there is no 100% proven method of preventing pancreatic cancer, there are ways to lower the risk of developing the condition. For instance, a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight can help. Also, not smoking can aid in this prevention.
If you or someone you love developed pancreatic cancer and proper diagnosis was not provided, seek legal counsel. At Power Rogers & Smith, L.L.P., it is our goal to protect the rights of our clients. Our medical malpractice team is ready to help you. Call us today to get started with a free consultation.