Review: Introduction to Pancreatic & Biliary Tract Cancers

Here is what we have learned from Introduction to Pancreatic & Biliary Tract Cancers:

  • The biliary system is the organs and duct system that create, transport, store, and release bile into the duodenum for digestion.
  • The biliary system includes the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts.
  • In the United States, an estimated 20,000 new cases of liver and biliary tract cancer are diagnosed annually.
  • Because the early symptoms are vague, and there are no screening tests to detect pancreatic cancer, early diagnosis is difficult.
  • Since the liver serves the vital function of filtering all the circulating blood, cancer cells are likely to travel, via the bloodstream, to the liver, making it one of the most frequent sites of metastatic cancer.
  • Gallbladder and bile duct cancers are rare, and together make up only 2 to 3 percent of all cancers.
  • Smoking and alcoholism are among risk factors for developing pancreatic cancer.
  • People with a history of chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis B or C infections, are at high risk of developing liver cancer.
  • Known carcinogens for liver cancer include nitrosamines, polyvinylchloride, thorotrast, aflatoxins.
  • Jaundice, weight loss, fever, and nausea are some of the common signs and symptoms for pancreatic and biliary tract cancers.