Pankaj Udhas Was Battling Pancreatic Cancer; Oncologist Dr. Anil Thakwani Answers All FAQs About The Disease

Aishwarya Pillai

, News

Renowned vocalist Pankaj Udhas passed away on February 26 following an extended illness, as confirmed by his family. However, singer Anup Jalota disclosed that the Ghazal maestro had been battling pancreatic cancer and undergoing treatment for the past two to three months. Jalota shared that Udhas had supported numerous cancer patients and had been aware of his diagnosis for the past five to six months.


Pancreatic cancer, often termed a silent killer, is notorious for its insidious nature, frequently diagnosed at advanced stages due to a lack of early warning signs or symptoms. Dr Anil Thakwani, Director and Senior Consultant of the Oncology Department at Sharda Hospital emphasized the importance of understanding pancreatic cancer, its causes, risk factors, symptoms, and treatments.


“Pancreatic cancer is a perilous condition characterized by the unchecked proliferation of malignant cells within the pancreas. Comprehensive comprehension of its etiology, risk factors, and therapeutic modalities is imperative for both prevention and management,” he asserted.


What Causes Pancreatic Cancer?


The primary causes of pancreatic cancer include:


  • Genetic Mutations: Alterations in DNA predispose cells to abnormal growth.
  • Tobacco Use: Smoking escalates the likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer.
  • Age: The risk escalates with advancing age, predominantly affecting older individuals.
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese is correlated with an increased risk.
  • Chronic Pancreatitis: Prolonged inflammation of the pancreas heightens the risk.
  • Family History: A familial history of pancreatic cancer elevates individual risk.
  • Diabetes: Individuals with longstanding diabetes are at a heightened risk.
  • Certain Inherited Conditions: Conditions like Lynch syndrome or familial atypical multiple mole melanoma (FAMMM) syndrome contribute to increased risk.


What Are The Risk Factors For Pancreatic Cancer?


Key risk factors associated with pancreatic cancer include:


  • Smoking: The most significant modifiable risk factor.
  • Age: Risk rises with age, particularly after reaching 50 years.
  • Gender: Men have a slightly higher predisposition than women.
  • Race: African Americans face a higher risk compared to other racial groups.
  • Family History: Having close relatives with pancreatic cancer increases susceptibility.
  • Obesity: Excess weight is linked to an augmented risk.
  • Chronic Pancreatitis: Hereditary chronic pancreatitis amplifies the risk.
  • Diabetes: Long-standing diabetes may elevate susceptibility.


What Are The Treatment Options For Pancreatic Cancer?


Dr. Thakwani outlined the following treatment options for pancreatic cancer patients:


  • Surgery: Depending on the stage, surgical excision of the tumor may be feasible.
  • Chemotherapy: Medications aimed at destroying cancer cells or halting their growth.
  • Radiation Therapy: High-energy rays utilized to eliminate cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy: Enhancing the body’s immune response to combat cancer.
  • Targeted Therapy: Drugs targeting specific aberrations within cancer cells.
  • Pain Management: Utilization of medications and techniques to alleviate discomfort.
  • Nutritional Support: Ensuring adequate nutrition, particularly post-surgery.
  • Clinical Trials: Participation in research endeavors to explore novel treatments.
  • Palliative Care: Focuses on symptom relief and enhancing quality of life.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and regular exercise are advocated to mitigate risk and enhance outcomes.


In conclusion, Dr. Thakwani emphasized that while pancreatic cancer presents formidable challenges, understanding its etiology, risk factors, and treatment options is crucial for prevention, early detection, and effective management. Routine screenings for high-risk individuals and adopting a healthy lifestyle are pivotal in combating this deadly disease.


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