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Pancreatic Cancer

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Pancreatic cancer facts

  • The pancreas, located in the abdomen, has cells with endocrine (hormonal) and exocrine (digestive) 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.
  • Genetic analysis has recently identified four pancreatic cancer subtypes -- squamous, pancreatic progenitor, aberrantly differentiated endocrine exocrine (ADEX), and immunogenic.
  • Pancreatic cancer may be difficult to diagnose until late in its course. 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 pancreatic cancer that can be cured with surgery.
  • The only curative treatment is surgical removal of all cancer, occasionally removal of the entire pancreas, and a pancreatic transplant; however, few patients are eligible for a pancreatic 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, but it rarely cures the patient.
  • 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.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/26/2017

Source: MedicineNet.com
https://www.medicinenet.com/pancreatic_cancer/article.htm

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