Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is a malignant neoplasm originating from transformed cells arising in tissues forming the pancreas. The most common type of pancreatic cancer is adenocarcinoma. A minority arise from islet cells, and are classified as neuroendocrine tumors. The symptoms that lead to diagnosis depend on the location, the size, and the tissue type of the tumor. They may include abdominal pain and jaundice (if the tumor compresses the bile duct).

Treatment of pancreatic cancer depends on the stage of the cancer. Although only localized cancer is considered suitable for surgery with curative intent at present, only the minority of cases present with localised disease at diagnosis. Surgery can also be performed for palliation, if the malignancy is invading or compressing the duodenum or colon. In such cases, bypass surgery might overcome the obstruction and improve quality of life but is not intended as a cure. In patients not suitable for resection with curative intent, chemotherapy may be used to improve quality of life and gain a modest survival benefit.

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