What is Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers around, simply because symptoms don’t normally appear until it’s in its later stages.

Pancreatic cancer occurs when abnormal cells of the pancreas grow out of control. Because it is not an “obvious” cancer that presents itself early, often it is in an advanced stage when it is diagnosed. However, in recent years there have been extraordinary advances made in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

What Are Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer?

Many of the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer resemble those caused by other cancers affecting digestive organs and are seen in other diseases that are not caused by cancer. These include:

  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes, pale stool (called jaundice)
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen gallbladder
  • Swollen liver
  • Blood clots
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diabetes

Please see your doctor if you start to notice some of these symptoms and signs.

How is Pancreatic Cancer Treated?

If caught early on, pancreatic cancer can be treated with surgery in which the cancerous tumors are cut out and removed. However, even if the cancer is caught early, only 1 in every 5 tumors caused by pancreatic cancer can be removed by surgery.

If the pancreatic cancer cannot be treated by surgery or if the cancer is advanced, it can be treated with radiation. Pancreatic cancer can also be treated with chemotherapy.

liver, pancreas, and bile duct surgeon dr. cataldo doria
interventional gastroenterologist dr. jason rogart