Pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3 percent of all cancer types. It is estimated that over 50,000 adults in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year.

What is Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer on which malignant or cancerous cells develop in the tissues of the pancreas.

The pancreas is the gland behind the stomach and in front of the spine. It is responsible for producing digestive juices and hormones that help regulate blood sugar level.

The exact cause of pancreatic cancer is still unknown but scientists have found several factors that can increase one’s risk of developing this type of cancer. These include obesity, smoking, chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), long-standing diabetes, and familial pancreatic cancer syndrome.

What are the Signs and Symptoms?

Some of the most common symptoms of pancreatic cancer include jaundice or yellowing of the skin and the white part of the eye, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and pain felt on the upper or middle part of the abdomen and back.

How is it Diagnosed?

If you are suspected of pancreatic cancer, your doctor will most likely recommend a number of tests to confirm the diagnosis. Some of these tests may include computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), laparoscopy, and biopsy.

Can it be Treated?

Pancreatic cancer can be treated. The treatment options will depend on one’s cancer stage and overall health condition. The most common treatment options for pancreatic cancer include chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. Like any other types of cancer, there is better treatment outcome if the cancer is detected and treated earlier.

The board-certified surgical oncologists of Premier Surgical Associates in Knoxville have specialized knowledge and skill relating to the diagnosis, pre-operative, operative, and post-operative management of pancreatic cancer. Learn more about our surgical oncology team on our website.