We understand if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that it’s a life-changing event. At Central Maine Healthcare, we want to help you avoid the distress that’s natural to feel in this situation. Our Central Maine Comprehensive Cancer Center offers excellent and compassionate care from board-certified surgeons, endocrinologists, radiation oncologists, and medical oncologists who can help you find a way to better health.
About Pancreatic Cancer
Your pancreas is an organ behind your stomach. It produces chemicals that help you digest your food. Pancreatic cancer happens when cells in the pancreas grow out of control. This cancer is usually difficult to detect until it has spread, making it hard to treat.
Doctors don’t understand pancreatic cancer well enough to identify ways to prevent it. But there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk. Quitting tobacco is one of the most important things you can do. Talk to you doctor about how to quit for good and call the Maine Tobacco Helpline at 1.800.207.1230 for extra support. Maintaining a healthy weight is also important. Also avoid exposure to harmful chemicals at work, especially if you work in the dry cleaning or metal-working industries.
Detection & Diagnosis
People usually have no symptoms of pancreatic cancer until it has already spread to other organs. That’s why it’s important to be aware of risk factors that may indicate you’re at a high risk for the disease. If you are at high risk, talk to your doctor about how to recognize signs and symptoms of the disease. These may include loss of appetite or unintended weight loss, pain in the upper abdomen that radiates to your back, yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (also known as jaundice), depression, new-onset diabetes, blood clots, and fatigue.
Our cancer care team will discuss the treatment options that will work best for you, depending on the stage of your cancer, your overall health and personal preferences. Typical pancreatic cancer treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these three. In some cases these are combined to attempt to cure the cancer and/or to relieve pain or other symptoms of the disease.
Central Maine Comprehensive Cancer Center offers a variety of support services to help you on your journey to better health. Our nurse navigators are dedicated to guiding you to resources that will support you and your family, including oncology social workers who can direct you to a variety of counseling services, from nutritional to financial.