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Pancreatic cancer is a disease of the pancreas

Pancreatic cancer is a disease of the pancreas
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Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is a disease of the pancreas – an organ in your abdomen. The survival rate for people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is low because it is usually diagnosed at a late stage.

It’s not known what causes pancreatic cancer but some things, such as smoking, make it more likely.

If you are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer you’ll probably be given an indication of the stage of the cancer.

The stage of your cancer will influence the treatment and care options your doctor will discuss with you.

What does my pancreas do?

The pancreas is a large gland near your stomach and small intestine. It releases enzymes through ducts into your small intestine to help you digest food.

It also releases hormones including insulin into your blood vessels to help your body control how it transforms food into energy.

How common is pancreatic cancer?

Pancreatic cancer is the tenth most common cancer in men and the ninth most common in women in Australia. More than 3,000 people in Australia develop pancreatic cancer each year. Most of these people are over the age of 50.

What are the chances of surviving pancreatic cancer?

More than 80% of pancreatic cancers have spread from the pancreas to other body organs when they are first diagnosed. Pancreatic cancer usually spreads rapidly. In most cases surgical removal is impossible. The survival rates for people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are low.

Last reviewed: July 2017

Need more information?

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Pancreatic cancer - myDr.com.au

There are many types of pancreatic cancer. Each requires different treatment and has a different outlook for survival. The most common type of pancreatic cancer is pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

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Pancreatic cancer fact sheet

Pancreatic cancer occurs when abnormal cells within the pancreas grow in an uncontrolled way

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Learn more about pancreatic cancer and the different treatments available.

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Pancreatic cancer is an uncommon condition that usually affects older people. Learn more about causes, diagnosis and treatments with CanTeen.

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An overview of pancreatic cancer including types, symptoms, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment and finding support.

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Pancreatic cancer - Cancer Pathways

Qualified cancer nurses can answer your questions about the effects of cancer, explain what will happen during treatment or link you to support groups and other community resources.

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Pancreatic cancer | Better Health Channel

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Pancreatic cancer - Lab Tests Online AU

For an explanation of the pancreas and the words exocrine and endocrine, please see the description under "What is the pancreas?" in Pancreatic diseases.

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CA 19-9 is used to help tell the difference between cancer of the pancreas or bile ducts and other conditions; CA 19-9 is used to monitor response to pancreatic cancer treatment and to watch for recurrence.

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Pancreatic cancer - Cancer Council Australia

What is pancreatic cancer? Find out about the symptoms, causes, treatment options and more. Get the facts from Cancer Council here.

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