This afternoon I got a call from a friend wanting to know how to locate an oncologist, and she sounded pretty convinced she was on a path toward a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. The symptoms and diagnostic processes she described didn't seem to indicate cancer. She has, however, experienced the typical patient care routine of fragmented providers giving her pieces of information that don't really keep her informed and lead, very naturally, to a lot of worry and speculation.
Sometimes it seems like the only time you hear anything about the pancreas is when It's associated with pancreatic cancer. Patrick Swayze's determination to fight the illness was very public, for example, and his situation was covered globally by nearly every type of media outlet possible.
The media doesn't really put a lot of focus on this organ when it works properly and most of the time we just take it for granted. The pancreas secretes enzymes that help digest food as well as hormones, like insulin, that regulate blood sugar.
If the pancreas is infected, damaged or inflammed, the condition known as pancreatitis develops.
Pancreatitis is a disease in which the pancreas becomes inflamed. The pancreas is a long, flattened, pear-shaped organ located behind the stomach which makes digestive enzymes and hormones including insulin. In pancreatitis, the digestive enzymes attack the tissue that produces them.
Acute pancreatitis occurs suddenly, with severe upper abdominal pain. This can be a serious, life-threatening illness if not treated.
Chronic pancreatitis is a progressive disorder that can destroy the pancreas.
Pancreatic cancer is a more serious condition, and is often difficult to detect and requires prompt attention.
Any person with a pancreatic condition needs accurate and timely information, solid support and good medical care. I'm glad I was able to help my friend calm down by providing helpful information, including referring her to this website. By working together, we can all help each other.
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