Francis W. Nugent, MD
Dr. F.W. Nugent is a medical oncologist specializing in gastrointestinal cancers with a special interest in pancreatic cancer. Dr. Nugent graduated from Middlebury College with a bachelors degree in religion before graduating from Albany Medical College. He presently serves as vice-chairman of medical oncology at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts.
Keith E. Stuart, MD
Dr. Keith E. Stuart is a medical oncologist specializing in the study and treatment of cancers involving the gastrointestinal tract, with a special interest in tumors involving the liver. He was educated at Harvard University (graduating magna cum laude) and Albert Einstein College of Medicine and did his medical training at the New England Deaconess Hospital.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
- Pancreatic cancer facts
- What does pancreas do?
- What is cancer?
- What is pancreatic cancer?
- What are pancreatic cancer causes and risk factors?
- What are pancreatic cancer symptoms and signs?
- How is the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer made?
- How is pancreatic cancer staged?
- What is the treatment for resectable pancreatic cancer?
- What is the treatment for locally advanced unresectable pancreatic cancer?
- What is the treatment for metastatic pancreatic cancer?
- What are the side effects of pancreatic cancer treatment?
- What is the survival rate with pancreatic cancer?
- What research is being done on pancreatic cancer?
- Is complimentary or alternative medicine effective in pancreatic cancer treatment?
- Is it possible to prevent pancreatic cancer?
- Where can people get support when coping with pancreatic cancer?
- Where can people find additional information about pancreatic cancer?
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Pancreatic cancer facts
- The pancreas, located in the abdomen, has endocrine and exocrine functions; cancer cells can develop from both types of functional cells.
- Most pancreatic cancers are adenocarcinomas.
- Few patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer have identifiable risk factors.
- Pancreatic cancer is highly lethal because it grows and spreads rapidly and often is diagnosed in its late stages.
- Pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose, and the diagnosis is often made late in the course of the disease. Symptoms and signs of pancreatic cancer in its late stage include weight loss and back pain. In some cases, painless jaundice may be a symptom of early, operable pancreatic cancer.
- The only curative treatment is surgical removal of all cancer and a pancreatic transplant; however, most patients are not eligible for a pancreas transplant.
- Chemotherapy after surgery can lower the chances of the cancer returning.
- Chemotherapy for metastatic pancreatic cancer can extend life and improve the quality of life.
- Patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are encouraged to seek out clinical trials that will ultimately improve pancreatic cancer treatment.
- Many organizations exist to help provide information and support for patients and families fighting pancreatic cancer.
What does pancreas do?
The pancreas is an organ in the abdomen that sits in front of the spine above the level of the belly button. It performs two main functions:
- first, it makes insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels (an endocrine function); and
- second, it makes digestive enzymes which help break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates (an exocrine function).
The enzymes help digestion by chopping proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into smaller parts so that they can be more easily absorbed by the body and used for energy. Enzymes leave the pancreas via a system of tubes called "ducts" that connect the pancreas to the intestines where the enzymes mix with ingested food.
The pancreas sits deep in the abdomen and is in close proximity to many important structures such as the small intestine (the duodenum) and the bile ducts, as well as important blood vessels and nerves.
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