The word cancer is a hard enough diagnosis for a person to digest, add pancreatic to the mix and it’s a virtual death sentence. It is one of the most aggressive forms of the disease, often leaving no options.
When Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent surgery earlier today for a pancreatic tumor she was one of the few given the option for surgery. As few as 10 from every 100 people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are given the option.
Most pancreatic cancers are adenocarcinoma and simply too aggressive to have treatments other than chemotherapy and radiation. The less aggressive type is an islet-cell tumor. While still a hard disease to treat there is a slim chance of a cure with this type. Sadly most pancreatic cancers are the most aggressive form, from 85 to 90 percent of the time.
Tumors in the pancreas are very aggressive. There is no detection test for it. Vague indigestion may be the only early sign. By the time symptoms begin to appear it’s often to late. Those symptoms are yellowing skin, itching, weight loss and abdominal pain.
There is not much known about the cancer. Family history and smoking seem to be top risk factors. High fat diets and diabetes are also considered risk factors also.
Chemotherapy will help to slow the disease but it is not a cure. Those who have surgery are treated with chemo to attack the remaining cancer cells.
The success rate for survival is a dismal twenty percent in early stage discovery.
There is no word as to which type of cancer Ginsburg has or what her overall prognosis is. The only thing that is known is that it was found in the early stages.