Stages of pancreatic cancer
The treatment you undergo will depend on the Pancreatic Cancer stage you’re at. Let’s take a quick look at the stages of pancreatic cancer, and what they mean:
- Stage 0: This refers to the stage wherein the cancer is localized and hasn’t spread to areas other than the origin. Symptoms may not be visible and may go undetected.
- Stage I: Cancer has started to spread. Stage IA- Pancreatic Cancer has spread two cms across the origin site. Stage IB- Pancreatic Cancer has spread to 4 cms across the origin site. Neither IA nor IB witness cancer spreading to lymph nodes. The survival rate is 34%.
- Stage II: The Pancreatic Cancer is beginning to extend its reach. The cancerous area is more than four cm long and no more limited to the origin site. It is slowly covering the area around the Pancreas or to the lymph nodes in proximity. The survival rate is 12%.
- Stage I and II: Surgery is followed by Chemotherapy and chemoradiation. The patient is advised to subject themselves to clinical trials of Targeted therapy and combination Chemotherapy.
- Stage III: The pancreatic tumor is spreading rapidly to blood vessels that are close by. It is going to spread to nearby organs soon. The pancreatic tumor hasn’t become metastatic yet. The survival rate is 12%.
- For Stage III, it is difficult to remove the Pancreatic tumor so palliative Surgery is the best measure. The patient may be subjected to various combinations of Chemotherapy, chemoradiation, and Targeted therapy. Clinical trials for internal Radiotherapy are strictly advised.
- Stage IV: Pancreatic Cancer has spread to distant sites and organs. The survival rate is 3%.
- Again, much like Stage III, it is impossible to remove the tumor, but the Pain is alleviated via Palliative Surgery. This is followed by Chemotherapy, and the patient is advised to undergo clinical trials for anticancer drugs. Side effects of Surgery may include appetite loss, constipation, irritable bowel, Pain at incision, pneumonia, heart problems, and pulmonary embolism. Side effects of Chemotherapy include losing hair, feelings of nausea, dry skin/itchy skin, diarrhea, constipation, gum sores, or mouth ulcers.