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Pancreatic Cancer. Risk Factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Outlook. Important Information You Should Know

An illustration shows a healthy pancreas next to a pancreas with cancer.

What is the Pancreas?

The pancreas is an organ found behind the stomach. The main jobs of the pancreas are to aid in breaking down food and to regulate blood sugar levels in the body. The pancreas makes insulin, a hormone that lowers blood sugar.

What is Pancreatic Cancer?

Cancer in the pancreas occurs when the cells in the pancreas multiply out of control. A mass of tissue can result. Sometimes, this mass is benign (not cancerous). In pancreatic cancer, however, the mass is malignant (cancerous).

What are the risk factors for pancreatic cancer?

The following can increase your risk of pancreatic cancer:

• Smoking

• Long-term diabetes

• Chronic pancreatitis

• Certain hereditary disorders

• Being older than 40

• Being male

• Being African-American

What are the Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer does not always show symptoms, especially in the earlier stages. However, pancreatic cancer can have the following symptoms:

• Upper abdominal pain that may spread to the back

• Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes (jaundice)

• Loss of appetite

• Weight loss

• Depression

• Blood clots

How is Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosed?

It is hard to detect pancreatic cancer in the early stages. This is because doctors cannot feel the pancreas in a routine exam. If your doctor suspects that you may have pancreatic cancer, he or she may order imaging tests to form pictures of the internal organs. An endoscopic ultrasound may be done. An endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a thin tube with a camera at the end that is passed through the mouth and into the stomach. The ultrasound probe at the end of the endoscope allows imaging of the pancreas through the stomach wall. If necessary, an ultrasound- guided biopsy (tissue sample) from the pancreas can be obtained during the procedure.

How is Pancreatic Cancer Treated?

In the later stages, the treatment of pancreatic cancer is not likely to be effective. By the time a diagnosis is made, it is often too late for complete surgical removal of the pancreas. However, there are different ways to try to treat pancreatic cancer. These include:

• Surgical removal of the cancerous part of the pancreas (resection)

• Radiation to kill the cancer cells

• Chemotherapy

• Clinical trials

What is the Outlook for People with Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths. After one year, the survival rate is about 20%. After five years, that number drops to about 6%. If a resection can be performed, the average survival rate is 18 to 20 months. The five-year survival rate in such cases rises to 10-25%.


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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional health information, please contact the Center for Consumer Health Information at the Cleveland Clinic (216) 444-3771 ☎ or toll-free (800) 223-2273 ☎ extension 43771. If you prefer, you may visit http://www.clevelandclinic.org/health/ or http://www.clevelandclinic florida.org.

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The Healthy Community Initiative is a collaborative effort between Cleveland Clinic and community partners to promote optimal health and wellness. Based on the community health needs assessment and utilizing combined resources within our local communities, Healthy Community Initiative programs will be customized around three core areas: education, nutrition and physical activity.

Live Long Lyndhurst Health and Wellness Initiative (HWI):
#LiveLongLyndhurst

Live Long Lyndhurst is a Health and Wellness Initiative between the City of Lyndhurst, Cleveland Clinic Community Outreach, Legacy Village, Cleveland Metroparks at Acacia, The Fedeli Group, the YMCA, South Euclid - Lyndhurst Schools, Second Sole and Anthem BlueCross BlueShield.

Related:

➤ Hillcrest Family YMCA

➤ Legacy Village

➤ Live Long Lyndhurst

➤ South Euclid - Lyndhurst Schools




In Partnership With:
 

    

    

    


 

    

    

    

    
Anthem. Visit this partner website.