The tissues of the pancreas, which releases enzymes that aid the process of digestion and produces hormones that help manage the blood sugar level, is where pancreatic cancer begins. Pancreatic tumors include cancerous and noncancerous tumors. The type of cancer which is most common in the pancreas mostly starts in the cells which line the ducts that carry digestive enzymes out of the pancreas. (pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma).
Factors that may increase risk of pancreatic cancer include:
Chronic inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
Family history of genetic syndromes that can increase cancer risk, including a BRCA2 gene mutation, Lynch syndrome and familial atypical mole-malignant melanoma (FAMMM) syndrome
Family history of pancreatic cancer
Older age, as most people are diagnosed after age 65
Signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer often don’t occur until the disease is advanced. They may include:
Pancreatic cancer treatment options are chosen based on the extent of the cancer. Options may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of these.