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

From left to right: Actor Patrick Swayze, who died of pancreatic cancer in September 2009, Apple cofounder and CEO Steve Jobs, and U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who have been 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

Illustration of the pancreas and surrounding organs.

Smokers are three to four times more likely than nonsmokers to develop pancreatic cancer.

A woman smokes.

Pancreatic cancer has been called a "silent" disease because early pancreatic cancer usually does not cause symptoms.

A patient is concerned after a discussion with his doctor.

In addition to a complete physical exam, the doctor may also order imaging studies of the pancreas.

A doctor examines an X-ray.

This abdominal CT scan shows a pancreatic adenocarcinoma (mass) causing obstruction of both the common bile duct (cbd) and pancreatic duct (pd).

An abdominal CT scan shows a small, vaguely seen 2-cm 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.

This is a gross section of a malignant tumor of the pancreas resected from the pancreatic body and tail.

Surgery may be done to remove all or part of the pancreas.

Doctors perform pancreatic cancer surgery.

Pain and difficulty digesting foods are the initial effects after pancreatic cancer surgery.

This patient is in pain during his recovery from pancreatic cancer surgery.

Radiation therapy (radiotherapy) uses high-powered radiation to damage cancer cells and stop them from growing.

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.

A patient rests in a hospital bed after pancreatic cancer radiation therapy.

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells and may be given by mouth or by injection into a muscle or vein.

A patient receives a chemotherapy injection.

Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy treatment.

Woman that has lost her hair from chemo treatment hugs a teddy bear.

Biological therapy is a relatively new form of cancer treatment that uses the body's immune system to fight cancer.

Scientists in a lab produce biological response modifiers (BRMs) for biological cancer treatment.

Side effects of biological therapy include flu-like symptoms, but these are usually short-term and gradually subside after treatment ends.

A pancreatic cancer patient recovers from biological therapy.

Follow-up care after treatment for pancreatic cancer is an important part of the overall treatment plan.

A doctor meets with a patient for follow-up care.

Many avenues of support exist for patients with cancer of the pancreas.

A counselor meets with an elderly couple to discuss pancreatic cancer concerns.

Programs and services for cancer patients.

Programs and services for cancer patients.

Laboratory scientists continue to probe the causes of pancreatic cancer and are researching new ways to detect tumors and kill cancer cells.

A scientist studies cancer cells under a microscope.

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