Pancreatic Cancer Slideshow
Reviewed by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD on Monday, February 23, 2009
In 2008, the American Cancer Society estimated that
37,680 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer
The two major functions of the pancreas are to produce enzymes to help digest food and produce hormones to regulate the body's use of sugar
Pancreatic cancer has been called a "silent" disease because early pancreatic cancer usually does not cause symptoms.
This abdominal CT scan shows a pancreatic adenocarcinoma (mass) causing obstruction of both the common bile duct (cbd) and pancreatic duct (pd).
Treatment for pancreatic cancer can consist of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or possibly biological therapy.
Radiation therapy (radiotherapy) uses high-powered radiation to damage cancer cells and stop them from growing.
Extreme tiredness may be a side effect of radiation therapy. While rest is important, doctors do advise patients to be as active as they can be.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells and may be given by mouth or by injection into a muscle or vein.
Biological therapy is a relatively new form of cancer treatment that uses the body's immune system to fight cancer.
Side effects of biological therapy include flu-like symptoms, but these are usually short-term and gradually subside after treatment ends.
Follow-up care after treatment for pancreatic cancer is an important part of the overall treatment plan.
Laboratory scientists continue to probe the causes of pancreatic cancer and are researching new ways to detect tumors and kill cancer cells.
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