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Quick Facts

Pancreatic Cancer

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Mar 2021| Content last modified Mar 2021
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Your pancreas Pancreas Your digestive system breaks food down into separate nutrients that fuel your body. It includes your digestive tract plus organs that lie outside the digestive tract but help with digestion... read more is an organ in the upper part of your belly that makes digestive juices. Your pancreas also releases insulin and other hormones that help control your blood sugar.

Locating the Pancreas

Locating the Pancreas

What is pancreatic cancer?

Cancer Overview of Cancer Cancer is the out-of-control growth of cells in your body. Cells are the tiny building blocks of your body. Cells specialize in what they do. For example, your intestines have muscle cells to... read more  is the out-of-control growth of cells in your body. Cells are the tiny building blocks of your body. Cells specialize in what they do. Different organs are made of different kinds of cells. Almost any kind of cell can become cancerous. 

  • Symptoms include belly pain, weight loss, and throwing up

  • Pancreatic cancer has often spread before it's diagnosed

  • Surgery may cure pancreatic cancer before it spreads

  • Once pancreatic cancer has spread, it's rarely cured

What causes pancreatic cancer?

What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer?

Pancreatic cancer doesn’t usually cause symptoms until it has spread. Then, your symptoms may include:

How can doctors tell if I have pancreatic cancer?

How do doctors treat pancreatic cancer?

If doctors don’t think the cancer has spread, they may do:

If the cancer has spread, surgery doesn't help. If it has spread only to nearby tissues, doctors may give you chemotherapy and radiation therapy. If the cancer has spread widely, doctors treat your symptoms to try to make you more comfortable. Treatment for symptoms includes:

  • Pain medicines or shots

  • Enzymes to replace digestive juices

  • Insulin if you get diabetes

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Throat
Which structure found along the sides of the throat (towards the back of the mouth) helps prevent infection? 
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