Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells form in the tissues of the pancreas. The pancreas is a gland located behind the stomach and in front of the spine. The pancreas produces digestive juices and hormones that regulate blood sugar. Cells called exocrine pancreas cells produce the digestive juices, while cells called endocrine pancreas cells produce the hormones. Pancreatic cancer begins when abnormal cells within the pancreas grow out of control and form a tumour. The majority of pancreatic cancers start in the exocrine cells. Your pancreas secretes enzymes that aid digestion and hormones that help regulate the metabolism of sugars. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (pancreatic NETs or PNETs) account for less than 5% of all pancreatic tumours.  They may be benign or malignant and they tend to grow slower than exocrine tumours.  They develop from the abnormal growth of endocrine (hormone-producing) cells in the pancreas called islet cells.  This is why these tumours are sometimes referred to as “islet cell tumours”. Pancreatic cancer often has a poor prognosis, even when diagnosed early. Pancreatic cancer spreads rapidly and is seldom detected in its early stages, which is a major reason why it's a leading cause of cancer death. Signs and symptoms may not appear until pancreatic cancer is quite advanced and complete surgical removal isn't possible. 

  • Pancreatic sarcomas
  • Pancreatic ductal adeno carcinoma
  • Serous cystic neoplasms
  • Endocrine pancreatic tumours
  • Exocrine pancreatic tumours
  • Pancreatic cancer

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