Caregivers have a very hard job and it's normal to need help.
Although caregiver assessments are used to plan support for the family caregiver, they are not always done. It's important for caregivers to ask for help when they need it. Many people who were once caregivers say they did too much on their own. Some wished that they had asked for help sooner. The best time to find out where to get help is when the patient is diagnosed with cancer. All through caregiving, it's important to watch for...
Diagnosis is dependent on elevated serum gastrin and elevated gastric acid levels. Provocative testing with calcium and secretin shows considerable overlap, and the value of these tests is limited. Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES) is a syndrome of unrelenting peptic ulcer disease, diarrhea, and gastric hyperacidity, associated with a gastrin-producing tumor. (For more information on diarrhea, refer to the Gastrointestinal Complications summary.) It accounts for less than 1% of all peptic ulcer disease. Sixty percent to 75% of gastrinomas associated with multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 1 (MEN-1) are malignant with metastasis at diagnosis. Sporadic gastrinomas are less often malignant; 70% are multicentric.
Serum gastrin 10 times normal, or greater than 500 pg/mL (Note: the accuracy of gastrin assays may vary widely).
Secretin test: 1 unit/kg IV rapid injection: Positive = 100% increase in gastrin within 10 minutes; 2 units/kg: Positive = 100% increase over baseline.
Elevated human chorionic gonadotropin levels.
In the era of proton pump inhibitors and H2 blocking agents, the potentially lethal hyperacidity and hypersecretory states induced by excessive gastrin production can be controlled. In a series of 212 patients with ZES, no patients died of causes related to acid hypersecretion despite the fact that only 2.3% of patients had been subjected to total gastrectomy and that the cohort upon which the report was based had a long median follow-up period of 13.8 years. Although 32% of the patients died during the course of the study, only 50% of the 67 deaths were attributable to ZES-related causes that were mainly liver metastases with progressive anorexia and cachexia (67%) or secondary endocrine tumors consequent to MEN-1 syndrome. The development of bone or liver metastases (especially diffuse liver disease) or of ectopic Cushing syndrome during the study period predicted for significantly decreased survival times.
Insulinomas are far more likely to be benign than malignant. Only 10% are multiple and only 10% are malignant; 10% are associated with MEN-1. The clinical manifestations are those of hypoglycemia, which is produced by inappropriate secretion of insulin by the tumor. These tumors may occur alone or as part of a MEN syndrome. Fasting hypoglycemia (<40 mg/dL) associated with an elevated insulin level (in the absence of exogenous administration of insulin) is pathognomonic. Measurement of plasma proinsulin may be helpful for diagnosing insulin-secreting carcinoma. These are usually slow-growing tumors and, when localized to the pancreas or regional lymph nodes, can be cured with pancreatic resection. The approach to management depends on carefully performed preoperative localization studies and the findings at exploratory laparotomy.[2,3,4] One large retrospective series has suggested that extensive preoperative radiologic studies are neither clinically effective nor cost effective because intraoperative ultrasound and visual inspection of the pancreas at surgery localize most occult insulinomas.