Pancreatic Cancer


This disease begins in the cells of the pancreas. Your pancreas is an important gland in your upper abdomen. It secretes hormones such as insulin. It also secretes enzymes that help digestion. Pancreatic cancer develops when cells in the pancreas mutate. Doctors are not sure what causes this to occur.

Risk Factors

Several risk factors can make you more likely to get pancreatic cancer. People who are black, who are overweight, or who have diabetes are more likely to get the disease. People with chronic inflammation of the pancreas are more at risk. People who have a family history of pancreatic cancer or certain genetic syndromes are at a higher risk. And this cancer is more common among smokers.


Symptoms of pancreatic cancer may include pain in the abdomen or the back. This cancer can cause the eyes and skin to yellow, a condition called jaundice. It can result in a loss of appetite and in unexpected weight loss. It can cause depression. It can also cause blood clots, especially in the large veins of the legs. Many people don't notice any symptoms of pancreatic cancer until the disease is advanced. This makes pancreatic cancer difficult to detect in its early stages.


Pancreatic cancer is hard to treat, and it spreads easily. Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and other methods. Your doctor can tailor a treatment plan for your particular needs.