Pancreatic Cancer

The pancreas is an organ located behind the stomach, toward the right side of the abdomen. Pancreatic cancer can be one of two types: exocrine pancreatic cancer or pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). Exocrine pancreatic cancer is by far the most common, accounting for about 95 percent of all pancreatic cancers.

Risk Factors & Symptoms

Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Aging
  • Family history
  • Pancreatitis

Symptoms may vary, but can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
  • Blood clots
  • Pain in upper abdomen that radiates to the back
  • Appetite loss
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Onset of diabetes

Screening & Diagnosis

There is no recommended routine screening for pancreatic cancer. If your doctor suspects your symptoms could be related to pancreatic cancer, they may order the following tests to make their diagnosis:

  • Imaging
    • Ultrasound
    • CT scans
    • MRI
    • PET scans
  • Biopsy
  • Blood tests

Treatment & Surgery

Your course of treatment depends on many factors, including your age and general health. Together, you and your doctor and the team of experts at CHI St. Luke’s Health can determine the right course of treatment for you. This could include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Surgery
    • Pancreatectomy
    • Distal pancreatectomy
    • Pancreaticoduodenectomy