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What is Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer begins in your pancreas tissues — an organ in your abdomen that lies behind your stomach's lower part. Your pancreas releases enzymes that aid digestion and produce hormones that help manage your blood sugar.

Pancreatic cancer treatment options are chosen based on the extent of cancer. Options may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these.

What are the symptoms of Pancreatic cancer? 

Signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer often don't occur until the disease is advanced. They may include:

What causes Pancreatic cancer? 

It's not clear what causes pancreatic cancer. Doctors have identified some factors that may increase the risk of this type of cancer, including smoking and having specific inherited gene mutations.

How is Pancreatic cancer diagnosed?

Pancreatic ultrasoundOpen pop-up dialog box If your doctor suspects pancreatic cancer, he or she may have you undergo one or more of the following tests:

How is Pancreatic cancer managed or treated?

Different types of surgery are performed depending on the purpose of the surgery.

If your doctor confirms a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, he or she tries to determine the extent (stage) of cancer. Using information from staging tests, your doctor assigns your pancreatic cancer a stage, which helps determine what treatments are most likely to benefit you. The stages of pancreatic cancer are indicated by Roman numerals ranging from 0 to IV. The lowest steps suggest that the cancer is confined to the pancreas. By stage IV, cancer has spread to other parts of the body. The cancer staging system continues to evolve and is becoming more complex as doctors improve cancer diagnosis and treatment. Don't hesitate to ask your doctor about his or her experience with diagnosing pancreatic cancer. If you have any doubts, get a second opinion.

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