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Pancreatic Cancer

  • What is Pancreatic Cancer?

    Pancreatic Cancer is an abnormal growth of tissue in the pancreas. The pancreas is an organ in the abdomen (belly) that produces digestive juices (exocrine pancreatic cells) and insulin, and other hormones to regulate your blood sugar (endocrine pancreatic cells). Pancreatic Cancer usually starts in the exocrine cells.

  • The causes of Pancreatic Cancer are not known, but you may be at risk if you:

    • Are overweight
    • Have a close relative with pancreatic cancer
    • Have diabetes
    • Have Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
    • Smoke tobacco
  • The symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer are usually vague, but may include:

    • Abdominal pain
    • Back pain
    • Indigestion, bloating, and oily stool
    • Pain in the middle or upper part of the abdomen
    • Weight loss without a known cause
    • Yellowness of the skin or the whites of the eyes (Jaundice)
  • You are likely to have an operation to remove the tumour or to relieve the symptoms. Other treatments include:

    • Chemotherapy to make the radiation therapy more effective, or if surgery and radiation therapy cannot be given
    • Radiation therapy (high-energy X-Rays) after surgery or if surgery is not possible — this can prevent the cancer from returning and may relieve pain and jaundice
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