Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Pancreatic Cancer

Cancer Types - Pancreatic Cancer

What is pancreatic cancer?

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer death in the US. According to the American Cancer Society, about 44,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer and about 38,000 deaths are expected in 2011. Pancreatic cancer occurs when malignant cells grow out of control.

What is a risk factor?

A risk factor is anything that may increase a person's chance of developing a disease. It may be an activity, such as smoking, diet, family history, or many other things. Different diseases, including cancers, have different risk factors.

Although these factors can increase a person's risk, they do not necessarily cause the disease. Some people with one or more risk factors never develop the disease, while others develop disease and have no known risk factors.

But, knowing your risk factors to any disease can help to guide you into the appropriate actions, including changing behaviors and being clinically monitored for the disease.

Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include:

There are several types of pancreatic cancers, including the following:

Some meuroendocrine tumors in the pancreas include the following - they may be ebnign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous):

What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer?

The following are the other most common symptoms of pancreatic cancer. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

The symptoms of pancreatic cancer may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

Picture of a patient in a scanner

How is pancreatic cancer diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for pancreatic cancer may include the following:

Treatment for pancreatic cancer:

Specific treatment for pancreatic cancer will be determined by your physician based on:

Depending upon the type and stage, pancreatic cancer may be treated with the following:

Long-term prognosis for individuals with pancreatic cancer depends on the size and type of the tumor, lymph node involvement, and degree of metastases (spreading) at the time of diagnosis.

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