Kim Jeong-yeon (70, female) has had the whites of her eyes gradually turning yellow for the past month. She then began to sing other parts of her body as well. At first, she thought it was a temporary symptom because she was tired. However, her situation became more serious when a friend she met recently told her that her complexion was so bad that she should go to the hospital as soon as possible. She had several tests done at the hospital, and the results were shocking. The doctor told her that her jaundice was caused by pancreatic cancer and that her cancer was so advanced that even surgery would be difficult.
Jaundice, a yellowing condition of the face, can be a sign of various diseases. In particular, you should be careful because it can be a sign of digestive cancer, pancreatic cancer, or bile duct cancer. With the help of Professor Gyeongju Lee of the Department of Gastroenterology at Hallym University Dongtan Sacred Heart Hospital, she looked into the connection between jaundice and cancer.
Bile, which helps digest fat, is produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Stored bile moves to the small intestine through the bile duct after a meal, helping with digestion. If this bile is not discharged normally, excessive bilirubin pigment in the bile accumulates in the body. This is why jaundice occurs. There are various causes of jaundice, including excessive bilirubin formation, such as hemolytic anemia, or the inability to process bilirubin normally due to liver damage.
Even in cases where tumors such as pancreatic cancer or bile duct cancer occur, jaundice may occur as the bile ducts are blocked and bile cannot flow. Professor Kyeong-ju Lee said, “In cases where jaundice is caused by cancer, active cancer treatment is often not possible until the jaundice symptoms improve. “It is very important to treat jaundice symptoms quickly,” he said.
It is said that if you undergo surgery or chemotherapy while suffering from jaundice, complications are likely to occur because your body’s immunity is already weakened. Professor Lee explained, “During the treatment process, it can cause coagulation disorders, cholangitis, liver failure, and in severe cases, even sepsis.”
If the cause of jaundice is found to be biliary obstruction caused by cancer, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography ( ERCP ) is performed. ERCP is a procedure that inserts an endoscope into the duodenum and injects a contrast agent into the bile duct and pancreatic duct through a small hole called the duodenal papilla to observe lesions.
Upon diagnosis, the blocked bile duct is pierced and a stent is inserted to help bile flow down normally. butEven if ERCP is performed, it takes 2 to 4 weeks for the accumulated bile to drain and the jaundice to improve. Because of this, if treatment of jaundice is delayed, the critical treatment period for cancer may be missed.
Look for other changes in your body as well.Jaundice begins with the whites of the eyes (sclera) turning yellow and gradually spreads down the body to appear throughout the body. Because changes in the body due to jaundice appear gradually, surprisingly, they are often not noticed right away by the person or their family. Professor Lee said, “Along with the yellowing of the face, other changes in the body should also be carefully observed.”
A symptom that occurs when jaundice occurs is that the메이저사이트 color of urine becomes darker. This is because the components of blocked bile are excreted through urine. Additionally, if jaundice is caused by cancer, weight loss may occur. Digestion may be difficult and your appetite may decrease.
Professor Lee said, “Anyone can be frustrated if they go to the hospital with jaundice and are diagnosed with cancer, but it may also be a symptom that can lead to an early diagnosis of cancer.” Pancreatic cancer and bile duct cancer are called ‘silent cancers’ because they are representative cancers with almost no early symptoms. In particular, in the case of pancreatic cancer, only 20% of patients can undergo surgery when the cancer is discovered because the pancreas is located deep within the body.
Jaundice occurs due to pancreatic cancer because the tumor is located at the head of the pancreas, close to the bile duct. On the other hand, if the cancer is located in the body or tail of the pancreas, which is far from the bile duct, symptoms appear late and detection is difficult.
Professor Kyeong-ju Lee said, “Patients with jaundice caused by cancer often miss the critical time for cancer treatment by not carefully observing related symptoms or ignoring them,” adding, “If you suspect jaundice, it is important to visit the hospital immediately and get tested by a specialist.” He emphasized.