Can pancreatic cancer be cured?

Introduction to Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive and challenging cancers. The pancreas is an organ behind the stomach that produces digestive enzymes and hormones like insulin that regulate blood sugar. Pancreatic cancer begins when cells in the pancreas start to grow out of control, forming a tumour. Around 60,000 people in India are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year. Pancreatic cancer often has no early signs or symptoms, so it is rarely detected in the early stages when it would be most treatable. Medical oncologist in Bangalore play a central role in the full scope of pancreatic cancer care – from diagnosis to treatment, to survivorship and palliative care.

Their expertise helps guide patients through this challenging disease. As the cancer grows, it can start blocking ducts from the pancreas and bile system, causing symptoms like jaundice, abdominal pain, weight loss, or digestive issues. Unfortunately, once symptoms appear the cancer is usually advanced.


Common Signs of Pancreas Cancer

In the early stages, pancreatic cancer often has vague or no symptoms at all. As the cancer grows, several common signs may emerge that should spark concern:

  • Persistent abdominal or mid-back pain that may radiate to the shoulders or hips
  • Unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea that persists or comes and goes
  • Oily stools with an unusual odour
  • Jaundice with yellowing skin and eyes
  • Blood clots
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • New onset of diabetes or existing diabetes becoming harder to control

If you experience any of these symptoms, especially jaundice, a clear red flag, it is important to see your doctor promptly. Catching pancreatic cancer early, before it spreads significantly, can greatly improve prognosis and survival. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer is often diagnosed in later stages once symptoms appear.

If pancreatic cancer is suspected, your doctor will run blood tests and imaging scans to look for tumours. A biopsy is usually needed to confirm the diagnosis by examining cells from the pancreas under a microscope. Once diagnosed, your oncologist will determine the stage of the cancer based on how far it has spread.

Treatment options for Pancreatic Disease

Early Stage and Locally Advanced Cancer

  • Surgery to remove the tumor and some or all of the pancreas
  • Chemotherapy before or after surgery to help shrink the tumour
  • Radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells

Later Stage Metastatic Cancer

  • Chemotherapy with drugs like FOLFIRINOX or gemcitabine
  • Targeted therapy drugs that attack specific cancer proteins
  • Immunotherapy boosts the immune system against cancer
  • Clinical trials testing emerging new treatments

Pain management is also a key part of pancreatic cancer treatment. At HCG Hospital Bangalore, oncologists have many options to provide relief ranging from over-the-counter medications to stronger prescription opioids if needed. Nutrition is also important, and your oncology team can recommend dietary changes or feeding tubes if digestion becomes difficult.

Pancreatic cancer treatment has made great strides, but the disease remains very difficult to cure. Having a strong support network is essential. Seeking emotional support through counselling, support groups, or online communities can help you and your loved ones cope with the challenges ahead.


Staying hopeful and keeping a positive attitude are also key to fighting cancer. Your oncologist can guide you through each step of the process, adjusting treatments as needed and striving to maximize quality of life. Do not hesitate to lean on your care team, ask questions, and express your needs. By staying informed and actively participating in your care, you can partner with your oncologists to have the best outcome against this formidable foe.

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