The pancreas is a pear-shape organ and about 6 inches long. It is located between your stomach and backbone. It is surrounded by your liver, intestine, and other organs. It is divided into three parts head, body and tail.
WHAT IS THE FUNCTION OF PANCREAS?
There are two major functions of pancreas:
- Making digestive juices (called enzymes) to break down fats and sugars.
- It secretes hormones, like insulin, which controls sugar level in blood.
The pancreatic part producing the digestive juices is called as ‘exocrine pancreas’ and that producing hormones is called as ‘endocrine pancreas’. Thereby, Pancreas helps in using and storing the energy that comes from food.
WHAT IS CANCER AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT THE PANCREAS?
In normal conditions, cells grow, divide, and die in a controlled fashion. They are regulated by various factors present in the body and maintain normal functioning. But in case of ‘Cancer’ there is abnormal cell division and growth, which is poorly controlled, thus cell growth and death is disturbed.
If cells keep growing continuously and divide unchecked, they become a malignant mass or tumor. These tumors cause abnormalities in the organs.
PANCREATIC CANCER OR PANCREATIC DUCTAL ADENOCARCINOMA
It has been recorded that pancreatic cancer or pancreas ductal adenocarcinoma is one of the major type of cancer, leading many deaths every year.
THE PROLIFERATION OF CELL MASS INDUCING TUMORS ARE DIVIDED INTO TWO TYPES:
- Benign tumors: They are cysts, not life threatening and can be removed.
- Malignant tumors: They are harmful, causes cancer and death.
HOW PANCREATIC CANCER SPREADS AND INVADE OTHER ORGANS?
There are 3 ways through which pancreatic cancer creates problems
- Invade: The malignant pancreatic tumor shows overgrowth of pancreatic cells and invade organs, such as the stomach or small intestine.
- Shed: Cancer cells can break off and shed into the abdomen, which may form new tumors on the surface of nearby organs and tissues, known as seeds or implants. These seeds build abnormal fluid in the abdomen known as ascites.
- Spread: Cancer cells have the capability to spread from one organ to another organ, known as metastasis. In addition to pancreatic cancer, they can spread through the blood vessels to the liver and lungs.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?
- Smoking: Smoking is one of the leading risk factor for pancreatic cancer. It has been studies that smoker are more likely prone to pancreatic cancer than nonsmokers, particularly heavy smokers.
- Diabetes: Diabetes patients have high risk to develop pancreatic cancer.
- Family history: Pancreatic cancer also runs in family, thus parents of pancreatic cancer have the risk of cancer among their children.
- Inflammation of the pancreas: A painful inflammation in pancreas is known as Pancreatitis. The prolonged pancreatitis may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.
- Obesity: Obesity or overweight in people can develop pancreatic cancer.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PANCREATIC CANCER?.
Symptoms of disease depends upon the location of the tumor in the pancreas. Tumor located in the head of pancreas presses and blocks common bile duct and duodenum, which can lead to jaundice in 70-85% of patients.
SYMPTOMS ARE INDICATED AS
- Yellow skin and eyes.
- Light-colored (clay colored) stool.
- Dark-colored urine and.
- Itching Nausea, Vomiting, Weight Loss Stomach.
- Pain in the upper part of belly as well middle part of back.
- Stools that float in the toilet.
SYMPTOMS AT ADVANCED STAGES ARE
- Weakness or fatigue.
- Loss of appetite or Feelings of fullness.
- Unknown reason of Weight loss.
HERBS IN AYURVEDA THAT HELP IN CASE OF PANCREATIC CANCER
CURCUMIN (CURCUMA LONGA)
Curcumin has been observed as a novel strategy for the management of patients with pancreatic cancer. Curcumin is worldwide accepted as next choice of cancer management. Curcumin capsules are pure standardized herbal extract of turmeric. It has vast range of anti-cancerous activity.
- It down regulates inflammatory enzymes like cyclin D1, COX-2, and MMP-9.
- It inhibits the expressions of NF-αB, STAT proteins, AP-1 etc. responsible for induction of carcinoma cells and inflammation.
- Curcumin inhibits production of pro inflammatory chemokines, induced by chemotherapy. It stops the expressions of factors responsible for cell proliferation.
- Curcumin is a potent herbal medicine to control the molecules/receptors causing cancer like growth factors, transcription factors, cytokines and enzyme.
TULSI (OCIMUM TENUIFLORUM)
It is well known for their medicinal importance. It helps in improvement of beta-cells present in pancreas. Tulsi capsules are important in cancer suffering patients like; reducing stress, anxiety and depression, improving stamina and endurance, reduction in inflammation, boosting immune system, antioxidants, anti-ageing agent, relieving headache, abdominal ailments and inflammation.
ASHWAGANDHA (WITHANIA SOMNIFERA)
It is a world class adaptogenic tonic improves body’s ability to maintain physical efforts and to withstand various types of stress. It balances Vata and control the nerve impulses throughout the nervous system. Therapeutically, it is beneficial for patients by reducing anxiety, stress, and depression, muscle fatigue and stiffness in neck, insomnia, strength to the muscles and stamina, diabetic neuropathy and weakness, acts as Anti-inflammatory and antioxidants agent.