Pancreatic Islet Cell Cancer Symptoms

Pancreatic islet cell cancer symptoms are caused by rare tumors and nearly 2500 cases of this cancer are reported every year in the United States. This article tries to gain further insight into the the signs of this cancer and the tumors which produce them.

Fortunately the nature of these tumors allow the disease to be treated well even in its advanced stage. Most of the tumors are related to the neuroendocrine cells. These cells receive signals from the nerves and release hormones in the blood. As the origin of these tumors are different from other cancer cell types, they grow slowly allowing the treatment of the disease in advanced stage.

However, the ability of these cells to release hormones influences the types of symptoms of this cancer. 50 percent of these tumors on turning malignant absorb certain hormones. This leads to appearing of some side effects as symptoms which generally result from excess production or an imbalance of these hormones. These are chemical messengers which help cells in the body to communicate with each other.

Pancreatic Islet Cell Cancer Symptoms:

  • Weight Loss
  • Jaundice
  • Pain
  • Palpable gallbladder
  • Malnutrition
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Pruritus
  • Anorexia – An eating disorder involving improper body weight maintenance and a fear of developing obesity

Tumors which Produce Pancreatic Islet Cell Cancer Symptoms:

There are two types of islet cell tumors. They are:

Non-functioning Islet Cell Tumors: They are diagnosed more frequently but are not associated with the release of excess hormones in the blood. They grow slowly without making the symptoms apparent for a long time. More than 50 percent of these tumors are malignant or cancerous at the time of diagnosis through CT scan and MRI techniques.

Functional Islet Cell Tumors: These tumors secrete hormones like glucagon, insulin or gastrin in excess amounts into the blood. Though they are present from a very early stage of the disease, their small size makes detection tough.

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