Stage 4 Cancer
Characteristics Of Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer
This is the most dangerous stage associated with Pancreatic cancer, and is characterized by spread of the impact of the tumor which is no longer localized. In this stage, the tumor is found to have increased to a length of more than 2 cm, coupled with distinct evidence of lymph nodes being affected, and the extension of cancer beyond the capsule of the pancreas. The cancer has made inroads into the liver and the lungs.
As the disease in this stage is not in a situation where the removal of the organ could accentuate the problem, the developments in imaging technology in the form of spiral computed tomographic scans, magnetic resonance imaging scans, positron emission tomographic scans, endoscopic ultrasound examination, and laparoscopic staging has turned out to be a manna from the heaven for the patients who have unfortunately reached the fourth stage.
As the response rate during this stage is low and the benefits in survival are not enhanced even after inducement of chemical and radiotherapy, the patients ought to be encouraged to participate in clinical trials of drugs which may have been formulated owing to the latest research.
In this stage as well, a bypass is attempted by passing the small intestine and surgically the gall bladder or the bile duct is cut and it is then sewn into the small intestine. The chemotherapy or X-ray is undertaken so that by the insertion of the tube, the excess build up of the bile is drained out into the small intestine through the tube.
It may also happen in this stage that the cancer may be putting an obstacle in the flow of the food to the stomach. In such a scenario, the stomach is directly sewn into the small intestine to facilitate eating of food in a normal manner, to the extent possible.
Pancreatic cancer is considered stage IV if it has spread to distant locations in the body, such as the liver, lungs, or adjacent organs including the stomach, spleen, and/or the bowel. Sometimes it can only be determined that a pancreatic cancer is in stage IV once surgery is completed. This is further sub-divided into two stages:
Stage –IV A, where the spread of the cancer is localized but includes the adjoining organs thereby hindering the surgical removal of the organ affected, and it is also sometimes christened as Localized or Locally Advanced.
Stage –IV B Pancreatic Cancer is characterized by its spread to organs situated at a distance, and most common organ inflicted is Liver. It is also known by the term Metastatic. The patients who have been inflicted with IV A stage cancer are administered treatment with the objective that there might be reduction in the incidence of spread of the disease or that the patient is able to live for periods of time, may be for months, or years, without any major symptoms of disease. Those in IV B stage are administered treatment with the objective that the impact of pain is reduced and the symptoms are kept on a tight leash.