Gianluca Vialli has been diagnosed with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Cancer affects the glandular organ when the ductal type cells multiply out of control, and that’s exactly what happened to this great icon of Italian football.
What’s the pancreas like
The pancreas has an elongated shape. It is located in the abdomen, deep between the stomach and the spine. The pancreas is divided into three parts: the head, the body and the tail. The head is the largest part, and it’s connected to the duodenum. Meanwhile, the tail extends up to the spleen. Overall, the function of the pancreas is essential. It produces hormones such as insulin and glucagon, which are responsible for regulating blood sugar. This organ also produces enzymes, including trypsin, which have the task of helping the digestion and the nutrient absorption.
The causes of pancreatic tumor
Up until 10 years ago this type of disease was more common among men. Supposedly because the highest percentage of smokers was represented by the male population. Now that women smoke as much and more than men, pancreatic cancer has become one of the top 5 most common tumor cases among women over 70. For smokers, the risk of developing pancreatic cancer is triple compared to the rest of the population who develop it from ages 50 to 80. Cases of this disease in younger populations are rare.
The other risk factors
Risk factors include type 2 diabetes and von Hippel-Lindau syndrome. The studies are aimed at finding out whether alcohol, coffee and exposure to industrial and agricultural solvents deriving from petroleum can favor the development of the neoplasm. There’s also a link with obesity, especially when there’s excessive abdominal fat. Hereditary risk factors are attributable to cases in which there are episodes of breast, pancreatic or colon cancer in the family.
The disease that affected Gianluca Vialli
The most common type of pancreatic tumor is the pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, and that’s the disease that affected Gianluca Vialli, former football player of the National team, Cremonese, Sampdoria and Juventus in Italy who’s been fighting against this disease since 2017. Vialli, after an initial stage in which he underwent surgery and chemotherapy, returned as Italy’s head of delegation and won an European championship. Unfortunately, at the end of 2022 his disease came back with a much more aggressive recurrence. In the rank of the spreading of pancreatic tumors, in second place there are the neuroendocrine ones. It’s basically the cancer that affected Fedez, who underwent a surgery to remove a flap of the organ.
Pancreatic tumor symptoms
The symptoms of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and of other kinds of pancreatic tumors aren’t easy to detect in an early stage. The diagnosis gets made as the disease progresses. Symptoms occur when the pancreatic tumor spreads to the bile ducts or the nearby organs. The patient starts experiencing symptoms such as weight loss, jaundice, pain in the abdomen or in the back and in some cases diabetes may also appear.
The therapy for the disease that affected Gianluca Vialli
Only the 20% of patients manage to undergo a successful surgery when the tumor gets localized while still in an early stage. However, the operation involves risks and it’s better to undergo it in specialized centers. It has a 10% chance of mortality due to the complexity of the surgical operation. Gianluca Vialli underwent surgery and chemotherapy in a specialized clinic in London. In cases where surgery is not possible, radiation therapy is performed instead. Some molecular target drugs have already been used, but studies continue due to the complexity and aggressiveness of the disease.
The CT scan to undergo for a diagnosis
The disease that affected Gianluca Vialli was diagnosed through a CT scan. In the Nefrocenter centers, more precisely at Nefrocenter Diagnostica in Naples, it’s possible to undergo a latest generation CT scan even for those suffering from claustrophobia. Though tomography, it’s possible to verify if the extension of the tumor reaches the lymph nodes, the liver or the bile ducts. An initial diagnosis can also be obtained through an ultrasound of the abdomen, which can be performed at Nefrocenter Diagnostica.