Hospital da Luz Oncologist interviewed on cancer of the pancreas

Tânia Rodrigues, oncologist at the Hospital da Luz, was interviewed on the program Ediçºao da Manhã on the SIC Notícias TV channel on 13 November on the first ever World Pancreatic Cancer Day.

Cancer of the pancreas has a very high mortality rate and there are around 1,200 new cases every year in Portugal. During the interview, Dr. Rodrigues noted that despite some recent progress, there have been few therapeutic developments.

The high mortality rate is partly caused by the fact that that most cases are detected late when the disease is already at an advanced stage and has spread to other organs. Late detection is largely due to the disease being asymptomatic during initial stages.

On this note, Tânia Rodrigues mentioned that doctors can be alerted by non-specific symptoms such as abdominal pain, lack of appetite and severe loss of weight without explanation. However, such symptoms can also be related to several other diseases. She went on to say that very often, tumors in the pancreas are detected by accident during routine examinations. At more advanced stages, symptoms such as changes in skin color (yellow), urine color (darker) and in feces (lighter), can indicate diseases of the pancreas.

With regard to risk factors, although there is no clear clinical evidence, smoking, drinking, obesity and some genetic factors may be associated to the appearance of pancreatic tumors.