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Health & Fit What Is Pancreatic Cancer?

00:05  23 november  2019
00:05  23 november  2019 Source:   cancer.org

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Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the pancreas . ( Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. To learn more about how cancers start and spread, see What Is Cancer ?)

Pancreatic cancer arises when cells in the pancreas , a glandular organ behind the stomach, begin to multiply out of control and form a mass.

a star in the background © National Cancer Institute \ USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center \ Min Yu, creator

Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the pancreas. (Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. To learn more about how cancers start and spread, see What Is Cancer?)

Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is the most common type of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are a less common type and are discussed in Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors.

Where pancreatic cancer starts

The pancreas

The pancreas is an organ that sits behind the stomach. It's shaped a bit like a fish with a wide head, a tapering body, and a narrow, pointed tail. In adults it's about 6 inches (15 centimeters) long but less than 2 inches (5 centimeters) wide.

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What Is the Outlook for Pancreatic Cancer ? Pancreatic cancer is a disease in which malignant ( cancerous ) cells form in the tissues of the pancreas . The pancreas is a gland located behind the stomach and in front of the spine.

Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms: Location Matters. Initially, pancreatic cancer tends to be silent and painless Jaundice. As pancreatic cancer blocks duct that releases bile into the intestine (common bile duct) What Is Thrombocytopenia and ITP? First Psoriatic Arthritis Flare. A Personal Story of RA.

  • The head of the pancreas is on the right side of the abdomen (belly), behind where the stomach meets the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine).

  • The body of the pancreas is behind the stomach.

  • The tail of the pancreas is on the left side of the abdomen next to the spleen.

The most common type of pancreatic cancer, adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, starts when exocrine cells in the pancreas start to grow out of control. Most of the pancreas is made up of exocrine cells which form the exocrine glands and ducts. The exocrine glands make pancreatic enzymes that are released into the intestines to help you digest foods (especially fats). The enzymes are released into tiny tubes called ducts which eventually empty into the pancreatic duct. The pancreatic duct merges with the common bile duct (the duct that carries bile from the liver), and empties into the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) at the ampulla of Vater.

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What are pancreatic cancer causes and risk factors? What are pancreatic cancer symptoms and signs? What tests do doctors use to diagnose pancreatic cancer ? How do health care professionals determine the stage of pancreatic cancer ?

Pancreatic cancer — Overview covers symptoms, risk factors, prevention, diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy It's not clear what causes pancreatic cancer in most cases. Doctors have identified factors Pancreatic cancer occurs when cells in your pancreas develop mutations in their DNA.

Endocrine cells make up a smaller percentage of the cells in the pancreas. These cells make important hormones like insulin and glucagon (which help control blood sugar levels), and release them directly into the blood. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors start in the endocrine cells. See Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor for more about this type.

If you are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it’s very important to know if it's an endocrine cancer (see Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor) or exocrine cancer (discussed here). They have distinct risk factors and causes, have different signs and symptoms, are diagnosed with different tests, are treated in different ways, and have different outlooks.

Types of pancreatic cancer

Exocrine cancers are by far the most common type of pancreas cancer. If you are told you have pancreatic cancer, it's most likely an exocrine pancreatic cancer.

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What’s pancreatic cancer ? The pancreas is an organ located behind the stomach. If you have pancreatic cancer , you won’t be able to feel a lump or mass when you press on the outside of your abdomen. You may not have any symptoms until the cancer has already spread.

What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer ? Since the pancreas is located so deep inside the abdomen, patients won’t feel a lump like they might with breast cancer or notice any other obvious clues, Dr. Anirban Maitra, scientific director of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at the

Pancreatic adenocarcinoma: About 95% of cancers of the exocrine pancreas are adenocarcinomas. These cancers usually start in the ducts of the pancreas. Less often, they develop from the cells that make the pancreatic enzymes, in which case they are called acinar cell carcinomas.

Less common types of exocrine cancer: Other, less common exocrine cancers include adenosquamous carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, signet ring cell carcinomas, undifferentiated carcinomas, and undifferentiated carcinomas with giant cells.

Ampullary cancer (carcinoma of the ampulla of Vater): This cancer starts in the ampulla of Vater, which is where the bile duct and pancreatic duct come together and empty into the small intestine. Ampullary cancers aren’t technically pancreatic cancers, but they are included here because they are treated much the same.

Ampullary cancers often block the bile duct while they're still small and have not spread far. This blockage causes bile to build up in the body, which leads to yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice). Because of this, these cancers are usually found earlier than most pancreatic cancers, and they usually have a better prognosis (outlook).

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We don’t know what causes pancreatic cancer . But we do know many of the risk factors for this cancer (see Pancreatic Cancer Risk Factors) and how some of them cause cells to become cancerous .

Pancreatic cancer can cause blood to clot more easily. The clots can block blood flow in the legs, lungs or other organs such as the pancreas itself or The doctor can perform tests and procedures to help investigate what may be the cause. "If you have certain risk factors, you may also want to see a

Benign and precancerous growths in the pancreas

Some growths in the pancreas are simply benign (not cancer), while others might become cancer over time if left untreated (known as precancers). Because people are getting imaging tests such as CT scans more often than in the past (for a number of reasons), these types of pancreatic growths are now being found more often.

Serous cystic neoplasms (SCNs) (also known as serous cystadenomas) are tumors that have sacs (cysts) filled with fluid. SCNs are almost always benign, and most don’t need to be treated unless they grow large or cause symptoms.

Mucinous cystic neoplasms (MCNs) (also known as mucinous cystadenomas) are slow-growing tumors that have cysts filled with a jelly-like substance called mucin. These tumors almost always occur in women. While they are not cancer, some of them can progress to cancer over time if not treated, so these tumors are typically removed with surgery.

Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) are benign tumors that grow in the pancreatic ducts. Like MCNs, these tumors make mucin, and over time they sometimes become cancer if not treated. Some IPMNs can just be followed closely over time, but some might need to be removed with surgery if they have certain features, such as if they are in the main pancreatic duct.

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Most pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed with advanced disease, which is cancer that 's spread from the pancreas to other parts of the body, including the bowel, liver, lungs, spleen or stomach. In addition to the common symptoms of pancreatic cancer

What is pancreatic cancer ? Share on Pinterest. Pancreatic cancer affects the pancreas , an organ near the gallbladder that plays a key role in digestion. The pancreas is a 6-inch long organ located behind the stomach in the back of the abdomen, near the gall bladder.

Solid pseudopapillary neoplasms (SPNs) are rare, slow-growing tumors that almost always develop in young women. Even though these tumors tend to grow slowly, they can sometimes spread to other parts of the body, so they are best treated with surgery. The outlook for people with these tumors is usually very good.

Written by:

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

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