Pancreatic Cancer

Cancer - it makes everyone of us cringe. Yet, you can't find anyone who hasn't been affected by some form of cancer in their lives, whether it be themselves or someone they love. The basic definition of cancer is a disease that is caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body. Cancer can form anywhere and for any number of reasons but they all start from abnormal cells that grow and generally form a tumor.  So, what is pancreatic cancer?

What is the pancreas?

The pancreas is two glands located behind the stomach and is part of the digestive system. Its job is to secrete digestive enzymes. Inside the pancreas are the islets of Langerhans, which secrete into the blood the hormones insulin and glucagon. The pancreas measures approximately 6" X 2."

The pancreas has two very important jobs. The endocrine gland produces several important hormones, including insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin. The exocrine gland's job is to secrete pancreatic juice containing digestive enzymes that make their way pass to the small intestine.

How is Pancreatic Cancer detected?

Because the pancreas is deep in the body, it is very difficult to see the signs before the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. Currently, there aren't any blood tests to detect it. But, don't let this be discouraging.

Every year, new treatments and options are developed that prolong the life of someone who has been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. Prognosis information is based on the past and every day is a day toward progress. Keep in mind that every situation varies, every person is different, and everybody's body reacts and heals differently. 

Risk Factors

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic Pancreatitis
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Work Atmosphere
  • Family History
  • Genes
  • Stomach problems
  • Alcohol
Signs and symptoms
  • Jaundice
  • Pain
  • Weight loss
  • Digestive Problems
  • Swollen Gallbladder
  • Blood Clots
  • Fatty Tissue Changes
  • Diabetes

How is pancreatic cancer treated?

Want to learn more?

The following are organizations and/or websites dedicated to providing information and education surrounding Pancreatic Cancer. These organizations are dedicated to research, education, awareness, and/or support. They are listed in Alphabetical order without any preference or prejudice. Listing these organizations is not a recommendation or referral in any regard for seeking treatment or consultation or support for treatment.

American Cancer Society
Lustgarten Foundation
National Cancer Institute
National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
Pancreatic Cancer Alliance
Rolfe Foundation