MemorialCare Cancer Institute at:
Pancreatic CancerPancreatic cancer, also called exocrine cancer, forms in the tissue of the pancreas, an organ in the digestive system located in the abdomen. Endocrine cells in the pancreas create enzymes used to digest fats and proteins, and exocrine glands create insulin and hormones to help balance the amount of sugar in the blood. Cancer is more common in the exocrine cells and most tumors in this area are called adenocarcinomas.
SymptomsPancreatic cancer symptoms are not usually present in early stages, in advanced stages symptoms may include: If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, consult a MemorialCare Physician partner.
Causes & PreventionThe cause of pancreatic cancer is unknown. Maintaining a healthy weight and diet, getting plenty of exercise and not smoking is recommended.
Risk FactorsYou are at a greater risk for pancreatic cancer risk if you:
DiagnosisAfter a physical exam, labs test of blood, urine and stools are reviewed, a diagnostic image such as an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI may be taken to view the pancreas. A physician may perform an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), which involves inserting a tiny, flexible lighted tube into the pancreas and injecting dyes that can be seen on X-rays. Other dye-related imaging processes may also be performed. A biopsy may be taken so that a pathologist can examine tissue from the pancreas under a microscope to determine if cancer cells are present.
StagingIf cancer is diagnosed and before treatment begins, additional tests are performed to determine the stage of the cancer and to see if it has spread to other parts of the body.
TreatmentsMemorialCare’s experienced team of oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists and surgeons conduct roundtable discussions (tumor boards) of newly diagnosed patients to make recommendations for the best course of treatment.