Pancreatic Cancer: Risk Factors, Stages, Symptoms & Treatments

Receiving a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is a real nightmare for most patients. After times of uncertainty, you finally know what it is, but for most diagnosed patients it is just the beginning – of more uncertainty. After the diagnosis, you’ll get more and more tests, and if possible you’ve to start treatment immediately. Every year this diagnosis is made more than 60 thousand times and nearly 50 thousand people die from this form of cancer – after fighting so hard to get better. That’s why it’s so important to get diagnosed at an early stage! The sooner this type of cancer is diagnosed, the better your chances of survival. Therefore, it is incredibly important that you are aware of the warning signs of pancreatic cancer. After all, a painful abdomen isn’t always just a cramp.

What is Pancreatic Cancer?
Pancreatic cancer is a form of cancer where cell mutation forms in the organ called the pancreas. The pancreas is a very important organ that plays a big part in regulating the body’s blood sugar levels and aiding in food digestion. The organ makes insulin and glucagon, which are vital hormones in controlling the body’s blood sugar. When the cell mutations in the pancreas go out of control, a mass of tissue may result. This mass of tissue – also called a tumor – can be cancerous or non-cancerous. When the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is made, the tumor is cancerous and treatment should start as soon as possible.

There are 2 types of pancreatic cancers, these types of tumors are called exocrine and neuroendocrine tumors. 93% of the time the tumors are exocrine and the most common diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, called (pancreatic) adenocarcinoma, is made – which most people mean when they say they’ve pancreatic cancer. The remaining 7% are neuroendocrine tumors – also called pancreatic NETs. This type of pancreatic cancer forms in islet cells – cells that make hormones – and produce excessive hormones. Which is what they are named after; for example, a tumor that produces excessive insulin is called insulinoma. Continue reading on the next page and find out when someone is at risk of getting this form of cancer, what stages of pancreatic cancer there are and how you can recognize it.