Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center
Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center is committed to providing the highest quality of care while serving the communities of southwest Las Vegas.

Getting the Facts About Pancreatic Cancer

Each year, tens of thousands of people in the U.S. are either diagnosed with pancreatic cancer or die from it. The average lifetime risk of pancreatic cancer is relatively low. Patients who do develop this life-threatening disease require specialized hospital care. If you have questions about your health and you live in the Las Vegas area, consider talking to a provider at Southern Hills Hospital.

It often isn’t detected in its early stages.
Many patients who develop pancreatic cancer are not diagnosed until the disease has already spread beyond the pancreas. This is partly because pancreatic cancer does not often cause alarming symptoms in its early stages and because there are no routine screening guidelines for it. As the disease progresses, patients may suffer from upper abdominal pain that spreads to the back, jaundice, decreased appetite, and depression. Blood clots are a possible complication. It’s important to note that symptoms like abdominal pain can be indicative of many different medical conditions and do not necessarily mean that cancer is developing. Patients who experience persistent changes in their health might consider talking to their family physicians.

A person’s health history can influence the risk of cancer.
Since pancreatic cancer can be difficult to detect based on symptoms alone, patients who are at a high risk of this disease might consider asking about having a screening test. High-risk patients include those who are heavy drinkers or smokers. Having a family history of pancreatic cancer or certain genetic mutations, diabetes, pancreatitis, and overweight or obesity are other risk factors of pancreatic cancer.

It’s a difficult type of cancer to treat.
There are several treatment options for pancreatic cancer, but it can be difficult to treat successfully once the disease has spread beyond the pancreas. When the cancer is confined to that organ, surgery is often effective. A pancreatectomy is surgery to remove the pancreas and perhaps nearby structures like the gallbladder, spleen, and lymph nodes. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and lifestyle changes are other commonly recommended treatment options.

Southern Hills Hospital is dedicated to making continual improvements to our hospital to better serve the needs of our patients throughout the greater Las Vegas area. Our hospital is your source for high-quality surgical services, stroke care, emergency care, orthopedic treatments, and many other specialty medical services. To speak with a registered nurse and request general information, you can call (702) 880-2700.