What is a Neuroendocrine Tumor of the Pancreas?
Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour or neuroendocrine tumour of the pancreas is a rare type of tumour of the pancreas that originates from the islet cells of the pancreas. The pancreas is a vital organ present in the abdomen of the human body, it secretes various hormones and enzymes essential for the human body. Islet cells of the pancreas are a group of cells that secrete various hormones such as insulin and glucagon to regulate blood sugar levels. Pancreas also secretes various enzymes necessary for the breakdown of food and its utilization. There are three types of pancreatic islet cell tumours; these are Gastrinoma, glucagonoma, and insulinoma.
- Gastrinoma is the tumour or proliferation of islet cells that secrete excessive gastrin hormone. Normal levels of the hormone Gastrin help to secrete gastric acid (stomach acid) which is essential for food digestion.
- Insulinoma is the tumour or excessive growth of islets cells of the pancreas which secretes excessive insulin. A normal blood level of Insulin is responsible for controlling blood sugar levels.
- Glucagonoma is the tumour of islets cells of the pancreas that secretes glucagon. A normal level of hormone glucagonoma triggers the liver to secrete glucose or sugar into the blood.
Disease Etiology (Causes)
Pancreatic tumour cells are rare tumours. There is no known reason. The only known risk factor for pancreatic islet cell carcinoma is a disease called Type 1 Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Syndrome (MEN1). This is a hereditary disease that causes excessive secretion of pancreatic hormones or promotes tumour production. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours are usually benign and do not spread to the nearby and other distant parts of the body.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms depend upon the type of tumour. The following are the symptoms of non-functional tumours.
- Abdominal pain
- Back pain
- Bloating ( abdominal flatulence/gas)
- A lump or mass in the abdomen
- Jaundice ( yellowish discolouration of the skin and eyes)
Signs and Symptoms of Gastrinoma
- ulcers (stomach ulcers)
- Gastroesophageal reflux ( stomach contents flowing back up the esophagus)
- Pain in the abdomen which relieves on taking antacids
Signs and Symptoms of Insulinoma
- Low blood sugar levels excessive huger
- Irritable mood
Signs and Symptoms of Glucagonoma
- Unintended or unexplained weight loss
- Rash on the face, abdomen, and legs
- Frequent urination and excessive volume of urine
- Excessive thirst
- Increased huger
The following diagnostic tests and procedures can be used to make a diagnosis; these are
- Imaging techniques like CT-scan, MRCP (magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography), MRI, TUS (transcutaneous ultrasonography), and PET-scan.
- Endoscopic USG
- CBC ( complete blood count)
- BSR( Blood sugar random), Fasting blood sugar, and GTT ( glucose tolerance test)
- Blood tests for serum insulin levels
- Histopathological examination of the pancreatic cell’s tumour
The main treatment is surgery (surgical removal of the cancerous part of the pancreas and the other tumour sites). Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are treatment options for advanced metastatic cases.
What Support can we Give for Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumour?
Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumour is rare cancer, meaning it is not as well known as other forms of cancer. Without a Ribbon is an Australian organisation that provides support for individuals who suffer from rare cancers. So, we provide a designated platform for Warriors to obtain information specific to their Rare Cancer. We also provide annual opportunities for our Warriors to meet and learn from each other. If you suffer from rare cancer such as Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumour, we can help and support you through your journey thanks to the generous donations we receive. Click the link below to sign up and become a Warrior today!
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