What is Pancreatic cancer?

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

The pancreas is a gland located behind the stomach. The majority of cells in the pancreas are exocrine cells, which produce enzymes to help digest food. Other types of cells, called endocrine cells, produce hormones such as insulin to help control blood sugar levels.

Pancreatic cancer is 1 of the 10 most common cancers in both men and women in Australia.

  • Pancreatic cancer statistics

    Pancreatic cancer statistics

    Pancreatic cancer was the 11th most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia in 2011. It is estimated that it will become the 10th most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2015.

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  • Know the risk factors

    Know the risk factors

    Some risk factors are modifiable, such as lifestyle or environmental risk factors, and others cannot be modified, such as inherited factors or whether someone in the family has had cancer.

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  • Pancreatic cancer symptoms

    Pancreatic cancer symptoms

    People with pancreatic cancer often have no symptoms until the cancer has spread (metastasised) to other organs. Exocrine and endocrine pancreatic cancers can have different symptoms.

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  • Pancreatic cancer screening

    Pancreatic cancer screening

    Screening aims to detect cancer at an early stage, before it causes symptoms. There are no reliable screening tests for pancreatic cancer for people who are at average risk.

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  • How is pancreatic cancer diagnosed?

    How is pancreatic cancer diagnosed?

    A number of tests may be performed to investigate symptoms of pancreatic cancer and confirm a diagnosis.

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  • Treatment options

    Treatment options

    Treatment and care of people with cancer is usually provided by a team of health professionals, both medical and allied health, called a multidisciplinary team.

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  • Finding support

    Finding support

    You might feel overwhelmed, scared, anxious or upset if you have been diagnosed with cancer – these are all normal feelings.

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  • Research & clinical trials

    Research & clinical trials

    Research is ongoing to find new ways to diagnose and treat different types of cancer.

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  • Health professionals

    Health professionals

    Information and Clinical Guidelines for Health professionals.

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