Pancreas is the organ which resides between our stomach and spine. From the moment we are born our pancreas is like a machine on autopilot, silently working, doing its job meal after meal, day after day!
Pancreas is an important organ of the body, it is one of its kind and lasts a lifetime, extracting nutrients, processing over 100,000 meals in a lifetime without ever breaking down. But whenever it does, it becomes imperative to diagnose and treat the root cause.
Pancreas find it easy to digest a Meal but not when it needs healing! Every step, between making a diagnosis and achieving the desired prognosis, is a milestone in treating a pancreatic condition. A process that goes beyond surgery and intervention. Where surgery itself is a lot more than – making the cut and repairing the damage done by a disease. Meticulous planning and preparations towards patient counseling, stabilising general health, improving nutritional status, preparing the patient for surgery and immaculate post-op care is what goes into, not just treating but healing a patient in its truest sense. All this backed with an interdisciplinary approach is what makes it possible to handle even the most complex cases.
The pancreas is a specialist in two functions:
- Exocrine- Which releases enzymes to digest our meals (carbohydrates, fats, proteins and acids).
- Endocrine - It releases hormones, insulin and glucagon, that help regulate our blood sugar level.
When would you need to see a doctor?
- Loss of appetite and indigestion
- Severe gnawing pain that wraps the upper part of the abdomen
- Foul smelling fatty stool
- Chronic conditions – may manifest as malnutrition and sudden weight loss.
- ecent onset diabetes in elderly patients.
- Cancers specifically manifest as painless jaundice with no initial symptoms though, but later exhibiting yellowish discoloration of eyes and skin and itching all over the body.
Some of the commonly seen pancreatic conditions are:
- Diabetes Type 1 & Type 2
- Acute Pancreatitis
- Chronic Pancreatitis
- Hereditary pancreatitis
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Cystic tumors of the pancreas
- Neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas
- Pancreatic Cancers
How peculiar can a pancreatic condition get?
Cases can be as minor as an episode of mild acute pancreatitis and as severe as an insidiously developing tumor of the pancreas. There can be a routine case of detecting diabetes from the symptoms or it can be a case where the symptoms of diabetes are silently camouflaging a life threatening tumor.
What would decide the fate of such pancreatic condition:
- Factor-1- The right diagnosis made by the right doctor at the right time followed by proper planning and execution of the appropriate line of treatment.
- Factor-2- multidisciplinary approach wherein specialists from different departments come together as a team to validate the Factor-1.
The prognosis of a pancreatic condition depends a lot on the age of the patient, stage of diagnosis, underlying diabetic condition, general health , along with the medical and surgical approach with which it is being managed. Patients beyond 50 years, of age, exhibiting non-specific symptoms, and recent onset diabetes need to be critically evaluated, as they might harbor small tumors of the pancreas. At Sakra Institute of Digestive & HPB sciences, a team of specialists from the departments of Surgical & Medical Gastroenterology, Medical Oncology and Diagnostic & Interventional Radiology work together in order to provide a more comprehensive treatment to the patients. It is a blessing to have all these specialties under one roof, especially when dealing some of the most complex cases.