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Klapman & Mokenge (2008) argue that pancreatic is a malignant neoplasm which source is the transformed cells arising from the pancreas forming tissues. Pancreatic cancer is not all that new; the most common type of pancreatic cancer is Adencarcinoma, which accounts for over 95% of the related tumors that arise within the exocrine component of the pancreas. Adencarcinoma presence is justified by the existence of tumors that show evidence of glandular structural design when viewed on a radiance microscope (Lippe & Dung, 2011). Small percentage of pancreatic cancer arises from Islet cells. Such type of pancreatic cancer cells are referred to as neuroendocrine tumors.

Thesis statement                                                             

Pancreatic cancer cases have been on rise. This is a type of cancer that affects that pancreas and eventually leads to death. Pancreatic cancer has little known about it and hence the need to undertake this study. According to the medical practitioners, the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is dependant on the location and its size in addition to the tissue type of the tumor. The most practical symptoms of pancreatic cancer are persistent abdominal pain as well as jaundice in case the tumor manages to cerate a compression of the bile ducts.

Pancreatic cancer is associated to immunohostochemical profile, which is considered to be similar to other cancers such as hepatobiliary types. A good example of it includes Cholangiocarcinoma cancer. Pancreatic cancer is also similar to some stomach cancers, hence making it technical to make rush conclusions that any tumor found within the pancreas is due to an invasion of pancreatic cancer. Cancer of the pancreas is attributed to the rise of progressive tissue changes. Precancerous lesions noticeable include at first the pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia; which are infinitesimal lesions of the pancreas then Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasms and finally Mucinous Cystic Neoplasm. These are the microscopic lesions that justify progressive tissue cells attributed to pancreatic cancer. Adenosquamous carcinomas and a close friend Signet ring cell carcinomas as well as hepatoid and colloid plus undifferentiated carcinomas are the familiar types of exocrine pancreatic cancer. On the other hand, pancreatic neuroendocrine carcinomas are a type of more belligerent endocrine pancreatic cancers.

Statistical Analysis and Data

Pancreatic cancer is statistically proven to be the forth leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women in the USA. The figures are estimated to 42,470 new recorded cases and 35, 240 deaths during the year 2009. Pancreatic cancer is one of the cancers that have the highest mortality rates and is referred to as median survival that spans between 3-6 months. In the U.S. the cancer rates are as shown below:

Cancer rates in the USA4

Prostate  83.8, Lung  42.1, Breast  76, Colorectal  29.2, Melanoma  14.3, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma  13.7, Bladder  12.7, Kidney  12.1 , Thyroid  9.9, Leukaemia  9.9, Pancreatic  7.0, Liver  4.5 and Stomach  5.7 (Trikudanathan, 2011). According to prior research studies undertaken on pancreatic cancer, old age, cigarette smoking and exposure to H.pylori are some of the factors that boost the prevalence and malignant nature of pancreatic cancer in the USA, with Nevada being on the top of the list with 8124 infections only during one year in 2009, Miami with 7356 and Honolulu with 6549 in the year 2009. The other USA states such as New York come in later stages with as little as 4 infections and reported cases of pancreatic cancer during the same period.

Past research statistics 5

From the past research, the following statistics are available (Trikudanathan, 2011).

Based on these statistics, pancreatic cancer has been prevalent in the U.S. states for a longer period of time, but it was not perceived with the seriousness it deserved and little information about this type of cancer was available to the general public. This means that the population was at a higher risk of infection until 2008 when the cancer death causing rate became of interest. This meant that the U.S. population was at a risk of infection but the fight against the pandemic was not present.

The estimated cases of death and infections due to pancreatic cancer in 2010 are shown in the table below. These are estimates from 44 states. District of Columbia as per the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) represents about 89% of USA population (Banoub & Limbash, 2009). These statistics are based on data of the U.S. mortality; National Center for Health Statistics, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010.

Data of the U.S. mortality6

 

Estimated new cases

Estimated deaths

 

Male

Female

Both sexes

Male

Female

21,770

 

 

21,370

43,140 infections 36,800 deaths

18,770

18,030

 

 

 

 

 

However, globally acknowledged pancreatic cancer was not associated with cancer deaths until 2008. This was due to the lack of information regarding its prevalence and treatment of other cancers at the expense of pancreatic type. For instance, in 2008 cancer accounted for 7.6 million deaths, which is estimate to be around 13. 5 % of global deaths that year but pancreatic cancer was not part of the statistical analysis (Pancreatic Cancer UK, 2011). The analyzed cancers were as shown below;

  1. Lung (1.37 million deaths)
  2. Stomach (736 000 deaths)
  3. Liver (695 000 deaths)
  4. Colorectal (608 000 deaths)
  5. Breast (458 000 deaths)
  6. Cervical cancer (275 000 deaths)

These statistics eliminated pancreatic cancer but later it was rated number four reason for causing cancer deaths. It is prevalent in the USA and the figures are alarming.

Psychosocial Challenges

Physical, psychological and social effects7

The diagnoses, as well as the treatment of pancreatic cancer, are traumatic events. Those infected are subject to a lot of physical, psychological and social effects that are likely to influence their needs. Pancreatic does not only result in distress of the patients but it also affects their relatives. The relatives of pancreatic cancer patients experience fear and a sense of powerlessness due to the victimization of one of their close people with the deadly disease. Relatives also experience shock and disbelief, exhaustion as along with anger and depression. It becomes very hard to see their partner suffer from pancreatic cancer and its treatment. Relatives in such cases always put themselves in the role of the caregivers and struggle to ensure that the situation is handled amicably, but at the same time they feel that they lack information and preparedness as far as controlling the situation is concerned (Pancreatic Cancer UK, 2011).  

According to Neoptolemos, Urrutia, Abbruzzesse & Buchler (2012), depression is the largest psychosocial issue that affects patients suffering from pancreatic cancer. The pancreatic cancer related problems and the illness burden are some of the factors that patients identify have psychosocial shortcomings. The treatment of the illness requires a lot of help in undertaking daily activities and other psychological needs, like sexuality, as well as professional care and practical support. Such demands are extreme and the patients in most cases are depressed when they are not rendered to them willingly. Depression does make their situation more diverse and scary to an extent that the patients loath their situation and wish for death at the expense of their suffering.

Poverty is another psychosocial problem that the patients of pancreatic cancer are subjected to. The treatment and control of the illness is expensive and requires a strong financial backing if the patients will live to see and survive another day. Due to higher poverty levels, the patients are not able to amicably handle their situation which makes it more diverse and eliminates positive thinking and hope. Medicines are expensive, chemotherapies are more expensive and the recommendations for such patients are hard to achieve. Due to poverty, many patients are not in a position to afford such requirements and this makes the situation scarier.  Thus, poverty is a psychosocial problem suffered by the pancreatic cancer victims.

Lack of appropriate outlets for socialization and exploration of the pancreatic cancer is another challenge for those afflicted. Patients want to keep it a secret due to the fear of having it discovered that their suffering from cancer is a factor that cuts them off the social sectors. However, there are no outlets where patients suffering cancer only can socialize and explore option with peers. This situation thus makes it hard for the patients to cope with the pandemic.

According to Lowenfels (2006), lack of support or overt hostility by friends and family members is another challenge. This is based on the assumption that to contain cancer is expensive and needs a lot of both emotional and psychological support, financial as well as control support and management assistance. The lack of any of these factors makes it adverse to recover from the pandemic pancreatic cancer.

Other challenges are stress while coping with the stigma, lack of awareness and early diagnosis as well as limited knowledge among those who should identify the presence and invasion of the pancreas.

Prior Research

The first research article of interest was undertaken by Trikudanathan et. al (2011). The aim was to find out the association of pancreatic cancer and Helicobacter Pylori infection and likeliness of influence the cause of the illness. H.pylori has been on inference for Etiopathogenesis related to malignant provisions, due to such, it was necessary to undertake a research study to find out the association with pancreatic cancer. In undertaking this research, observational studies were adopted to enable the comparison of prevalence of H.pylori infection in patients that are suffering from pancreatic cancer. The study was conducted in the USA, west Dakota state adult population and six studies that involved 2,335 patients were adopted. The study managed to point out that a noteworthy alliance existed between H.pylori seropositivity and the progress of pancreatic cancer (Trikudanathan, 2011). The second study was undertaken by the Pancreatic Cancer UK (Pancreatic Cancer UK, 2011). The study was done in the UK and did manage to set out comprehensive findings on pancreatic cancer in the UK. The study involved 1000 pancreatic cancer patients and survivors. Of these 850 were pancreatic cancer patients and care givers and nearly 175 nurses and doctors. These people voluntarily agreed to share their views on the challenges facing pancreatic cancer and opportunities available to them.  The study advocated for a collaborative approach on all stakeholders: the government, researchers, and funding bodies towards control of pancreatic cancer and investment in research.

Community Based Programs

U Mass Pancreas Program: University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMASS).

The university has offered room to undertake research through a collaboration with Pancreatic Cancer Alliance, which is a community based organization founded in 2003. The collaboration has brought about a communal approach “friends and Philanthropy” which has been requesting for well wisher’s funding towards it efforts. This program serves approximately two states that are adjacent to the university to ensure a cancer free community within the vicinity. The US national cancer institute spent $74.2 million in 2006 and the UMASS budget is of the same range of $76.5 million. Having been founded in 2003, the organization has so far been operating for 8 years (Ahuja & Coleman, 2010). Funding is collected purely by requesting those with ability to voluntarily contribute to the research funding and community help in mitigating the issue related to pancreatic cancer.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network10

Another similar organization is The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, a community based program founded in Long Island city, New York. This organization was founded in 1999 and it serves millions of the population in New York. Since 1999, the organization has been for the last 11 years in operation and operated on a budget of nearly $100 million. A significant amount of this money comes from city council and non-governmental organizations and the rest is reliant on contributions and donations. The pooling of these finance sources empowers the organization economy and operations.

Recommendations

I would recommend that the government runs country-wide free screening of cancer. This is the installation of temporal places where population is welcome for screening to find out if they may be infected with cancerous cells. Various types of cancer should be screened and if found infected, the person is allowed to get free treatment and advice on how to contain the situation. Such an intervention would see the rich finance such programs as beneficiaries and funding would ensure that the poor are also served and helped to contain the effects of pancreatic cancer. In addition, the society will be made aware of how to contain the situation and minimize victimization and acceptance.

A second intervention could be to educate the society on the ways of handling the ones already suffering from the illness or condition. This is opposed to segregation, stigmatization and disregard because patients will definitely succumb to the illness. Education on the causes, prevention and treatment will bring together all the concerned parties and communities into one particular goal and target. This means that the population will be able to handle the situation with a lot of understanding and positivism.

The implementation of these two interventions will above all create a uniform ground for all susceptible to cancer infection. It will see justice in treatment and administration of cure of the illness and its associated victimization. Such implementation will thus encourage the creation of even grounds in treatment of pancreatic cancer. Moreover, the cancers are in recent years managed to cause death of many due to the late realization of the illnesses. Thus an early intervention in diagnosis and administration of cure will ensure that the chances of infection are minimized and cancer treatment is affordable to everyone.

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