What is Pancreatic Cancer Treatment?
Pancreatic cancer occurs due to uncontrolled cell division in the pancreas. The treatment aims to kill the tumor cells, shrink the size of the tumor and prevent or delay the progression of cancer. There are several options available for managing pancreatic cancer. Some of them are:
- Surgery: The doctor may remove a certain portion of the pancreas affected by the tumor. The procedure done for this is the Whipple procedure or pancreaticoduodenectomy. Although the surgery removes the tumor from the pancreas, it may not treat metastasis.
- Chemotherapy: In this method, the doctor prescribes the medications that kill the tumor. It may be used along with the surgery to treat metastatic cancer.
- Radiation Therapy: Radiotherapy kills cancerous cells through high-energy radiation. The oncologists may perform radiotherapy before or after the surgery.
- Targeted therapy: The drug specifically targets the cancer cells while sparing the healthy cells in the targeted therapy. It has lesser side effects than chemotherapy.
- Immunotherapy: The oncologists, in immunotherapy, prescribe certain agents that enhance the immune system. The immune system then targets the tumor cells.
Why should you opt for Second Opinion before undergoing Pancreatic Cancer Treatment?
There are several reasons for seeking a second opinion if you are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Some of them are:
- Confirmatory diagnosis: The patients may take a second opinion to confirm their diagnosis before initiating treatment. About 88% of the people seeking a second opinion have their diagnosis revised or have a change in the stage. Further, there are several diseases that mimic the symptoms of pancreatic cancer. Thus, it is important to confirm if the symptoms are presented due to cancer or other underlying diseases.
- Stage of the disease: Determining the accurate stage of the disease is essential for improving treatment outcomes. Different stages of the disease have different treatments. If advanced treatment is given for a mild stage, the patients have serious side effects. Further, giving mild treatment for advanced-stage increases the risk of mortality.
- Treatment validation: The patients may also seek a second opinion to validate the treatment prescribed by the primary doctor. There are several advancements in the management of pancreatic cancer, and the patients are looking for the best medical treatment. The second opinion may also provide novel options of treatment and the countries or hospitals in which such treatments are available.
- Disease information: In some cases, the patients cannot get the relevant information about the disease, the treatment options, the side effects of treatment, and the overall prognosis of the disease. A second opinion may help the patients to understand more about the disease.
Most common conditions to be diagnosed for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
There are several conditions that had overlapping symptoms with pancreatic cancer. They are so complex that sometimes the doctor may also misdiagnose these conditions. It is, therefore, important to take a second opinion before initiating the treatment. Some of the conditions that mimic pancreatic cancer are:
- Autoimmune pancreatitis: Autoimmune pancreatitis is a condition with symptoms similar to pancreatic cancer. Although there are several clinical strategies to differentiate both conditions, doctors, in some cases, may misdiagnose the condition. The condition is believed to be due to an attack of the body’s immune system on the pancreas. Autoimmune pancreatitis responds to steroid therapy.
- Chronic pancreatitis: Chronic pancreatitis is another condition that mimics the symptoms of pancreatic cancer. The patients with this condition have long-term inflammation of the pancreas. It interferes with digestion and sugar regulation. There may be permanent scarring and damage to the pancreas. The patient may be malnutrition and develop diabetes.
- Pancreatic duct strictures: Pancreatic duct stricture is associated with benign and malignant aetiologies. It is the reason that some doctors may misdiagnose benign conditions with malignancy. Pancreatic duct strictures may be caused due to chronic pancreatitis, surgical complications, trauma, and pseudocysts. The malignant causes of pancreatic duct stricture include pancreatic tumors.
- Eosinophilic gastroenteritis: The symptoms of this condition may mimic pancreatic cancer. The patients experience anorexia, vomiting and abdominal pain exacerbated by eating. In a case study, the initial diagnosis of the patients was carcinoma of the ampulla of Vater or the head of the pancreas through imaging technique which was later converted to eosinophilic gastroenteritis.
- Isolated pancreatic tuberculosis: Isolated pancreatic tuberculosis is rare and can mimic pancreatic cancer. It may occur in immunocompromised patients. Patients with an increased risk of this disease include those above 50 years and with low socioeconomic status. In a case study, the CT scan of the patient indicated a mass in the pancreatic neck that suspected pancreatic malignancy. However, further examination revealed isolated pancreatic tuberculosis.
Questions to ask your doctor for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
Some of the questions that you may ask from the second opinion board are:
- What could be the best possible treatment option available for my condition?
- Is that option available in my country? If not, in which country do I need to take treatment?
- What is the prognosis of my disease?
- Would I be completely cured?
- What is the risk of recurrence?
- Do I need to get immediate treatment, or I can wait and monitor my condition?
Also Read: Cancer Treatment: Second Opinion for Better Management of Risk Factors
Tests are required before undergoing a second opinion for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment.
The patients should have complete documents of the following tests for a second opinion before initiating pancreatic cancer treatment. It is important that the patients must upload all the documents, including DICOM images, on the MediGence portal while seeking a second opinion.
- Endoscopic ultrasound: Endoscopic ultrasound assists the doctor in viewing the pancreas from the inside of the abdomen. It will help the board to evaluate the exact cause of the symptoms. The board members comprehensively analyze the report to check if the previous doctors miss any relevant information.
- Other imaging tests: Several other imaging tests are required during a second opinion. The board members may also advise the patients to undergo relevant tests to accurately diagnose the condition or re-evaluates the stage. The patients need to upload the reports of MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound. The patients may also undergo a PET scan in some cases.
- Blood reports: The blood tests may also help determine the presence of tumor markers released by the pancreatic cancer cells. One of the tumor markers for pancreatic cancer is CA19-9. However, it may not be helpful as many patients with pancreatic cancer may not have elevated tumor markers.
- Biopsy tests: The patients should also upload the biopsy reports. It will help the board members diagnose the presence and stage of pancreatic cancer. The medical experts on board may also advise the patients to undergo a biopsy again while having the tissue sample from a different area.
Second Opinion with MediGence
Seeking a second opinion for life-threatening diseases through MediGence has several advantages. Some of the advantages include:
- Medical experts: Seeking a second opinion from the medical experts in the relevant field may provide valuable insight. It may be related to the diagnosis of the disease, the stage of the disease, and the treatment prescribed by the primary doctor. MediGence is associated with several medical experts from different therapeutic areas. Once the patient wishes to seek a second opinion, a relevant board comprising experienced medical professionals is formed by MediGence.
- Faster opinion: Time is of the essence in life-threatening conditions, and at MediGence, we know it very well. The second opinion report is available on the portal within five working days.
- Smooth process: The process of getting a second opinion through MediGence is smooth. The Medigence team is always with you at every step of the process.
- Technology integration: MediGence has used the technology at its best by integrating the DICOM image uploading facility on its portal. The board receives the unadulterated images for an accurate second opinion through the DICOM images.