I was sitting in the clinic, going through some of the electronic files; retrieving data, flipping across reports. Everything has to be recorded ad updated so that the systems sustains when my iPhone buzzed; I received the call, one of my old friend’s number was shown, he was talking frantically in a loud and nervous tone. I asked what happened and he blurted”My mom has a tumor in the pancreas!”. His voice was slurred and he was deeply anxious. I just calmed him down and asked him to get all reports to the clinic.
Awaiting his appearance next day, many thoughts reverberated:
- Why are people so nervous about the problem in the pancreas?
- Are all tumors in the pancreas leading to death in a short period of time.
I remembered my lesson in GI surgery, the patient with the tumor in the “head” of the pancreas would not survive more than 1 year and in best hands and with the best treatment only a tenth will make it beyond 5 years.
The knock by the nurse got me into the present. I was glad to meet the pleasant lady only 50 years old and looking radiant. Her main problem was the pain in the left side occasionally going to the back. She had not lost weight. Her GP had asked for an ultrasound and later contrast CT scan. Screening through the reports, I heaved a sigh of great relief and with the warm smile greeted the family. The tumor was in the “tail” of the pancreas. Even the nature of the tumor was not classical adenocarcinoma, perhaps as a surgeon, I was more ecstatic than the patient and relatives.
There are a lot of variety of tumors of pancreas:
- Tumor in tail are seen in 15% of the patients having a problem of pancreas
- Most tumors in the body and tail of pancreas are benign.
- Only if they become bigger than 5cms, they may have features of cancer but even then they are treatable.
- The tumours of head of pancreas behave differently and have a different surgery. (See another section)
Most of these tumors are now operated laparoscopically. As I gave this information to them, they just kept listening and I could distinctly see the gleaming hope in the eyes, although they were still trying to gather all information.
The surgery was done within a weeks’ time and the patient went home on the 3rd day. The final report was a mucinous cyst adenoma (a benign version). They reveled in recovery, being either blissfully unaware if the tumor was in the head of the pancreas, how different could have been the outcome.
All I know that even surgical science survives in its diversity.
Dr. G. Srikanth and Dr. Ritu Khare, along with their team of specialists, have been working extensively on pancreatic cancer treatment in the Middle East for several years now. Dr. G. Srikanth is a well-known gastrointestinal surgeon, who along with Dr. Ritu Khare has been offering advanced laparoscopic procedures for the treatment of cancers related to the pancreas and other gastrointestinal organs.