Pancreatic cancer, among the top 10 diagnosed cancers in the U.S., begins in the tissues of the pancreas when the cells there develop mutations in their DNA. The cells group together, thus forming a tumor.

There are two types of pancreatic cancer: those arising from the exocrine gland (the most common) and those arising from the endocrine gland.

Symptoms rarely occur in the early stages of pancreatic cancer. When symptoms do arise, however, they may include:

  • Upper abdominal pain that radiates to the back
  • Jaundice
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Depression
  • Blood clots
  • Gray/pale stool

Treatment may include:

  • Surgery to remove the head of the pancreas, as well as the gallbladder, part of the stomach, part of the small intestine, and the bile duct
  • Surgery to remove the entire pancreas, part of the stomach, part of the small intestine, the common bile duct, the gallbladder, spleen, and neighboring lymph nodes
  • Surgery to remove the tail and body of the pancreas, as well as the spleen
  • Radiation therapy (internal or external)
  • Chemotherapy (IV or by mouth)
  • Chemoradiation
  • Targeted therapy (addressing specific abnormalities inside the cancerous cells)

Note: This information shouldn’t take the place of a physician’s care. Please see your physician or Dr. Suman Kaur of Digestive Disease Associates with any questions or concerns: (630) 325-4255.