• Blog
  • by AK Team
  • July 31, 2021
  • 0


Pancreatic cancer is basically the cancer of pancreas. It begins in the tissue of the pancreas. Like any other cancer, when there is an outgrowth in the pancreatic cells and tissues, activation of oncogenes takes places and then pancreatic cancer occurs.

There are many types of growth that occur in the pancreas, some are benign (non -cancerous)  and some are malignant (cancerous). The most common type of outgrowth that occurs in the pancreatic cells occur in the cells that line the pancreatic ducts. These are the ducts that carry digestive enzymes to the stomach. This type of pancreatic cancer is known as pancreatic ductal denocarcinoma.

It is not as deadly as it sounds, there is in most cases always a cure of it. The type of treatment a person is going to receive entirely depends on the type and the stage of cancer a person is having.



  • Pancreas is one of the most important gland of human body
  • It is an heterocrine gland, that is it performs both exocrine as well as endocrine functions.
  • As an exocrine function, the pancreas help in digestion by secreting certain digestive enzymes and juices
  • As an endocrine gland, it regulates the level of blood sugar by secreting three hormones – glucagon, insulin and somatostatin
  • Pancreas is located in the upper left corner of the abdomen behind the stomach
  • It has a shape like a flat pear and it extends horizontally across the abdomen.
  • Pancreas has three main parts – the head of the pancreas, the body or neck of the pancreas and the tail of the pancreas
  • The head of the pancreas is a wide anterior portion and it is positioned towards the center of the abdomen
  • The neck or body of the pancreas is the central part
  • The tail of the pancreas is the posterior part of the pancreas and it extends towards the left side
  • It is surrounded by various blood vessels such as superior mesenteric artery, superior mesenteric vein, portal vein and the celiac axis



There are basically four types of cancer and these are majorly formed by the exocrine part of the pancreas. The exocrine cells and tissue have an abnormal outgrowth and such types of cancers are formed. Four types of pancreatic cancer are listed below :


  • Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of pancreatic cancer
  • It is also known as ductal carcinoma
  • Adenocarcinoma occurs in the ducts of the pancreas lining them
  • If adinocarcinoma occurs in the cells that creat the pancreas it is known as acinar cell carcinoma
  • This type of pancreatic cancer symptoms include nausea, abdominal pain, weight loss, etc.

Squamous cell carcinoma

  • This is the most uncommon type of pancreatic cancer
  • It occurs in the pancreatic duct and is entirely made up of squamous epithelium

Adenosquamous carcinoma

  • Like squamous carcinoma, adenocarcinoma is also rare type of cancer
  • If we compare adenocarcinoma with adinosquamous carcinoma, the later is of more aggressive type
  • This type of cancer shows characteristic of both ductal adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma

Colloid carcinoma

  • Colloid carcinoma is another rare type of pancreatic cancer that occurs very rarely in the pancreas
  • In this type of cancer first the cells are of benign type and then over a period of time they get converted into malignant ones
  • This type of cancer are least likely to spread to other parts of the body



The stage of the cancer helps us to know that how advanced the cancer is and with what medications and treatments we have to treat this. The stages of pancreatic cancer are as follows :

Stage 1

In this stage, the tumors begin to develop and they remain in the pancreas itself

Stage 2

In this second stage, the tumors that were formed in the pancreas starts to spread to other nearby parts to the body such as the abdominal tissues and lymph nodes

Stage 3

In this third stage, the cancer becomes more prominent and starts to spread in major blood vessels and lymph nodes

Stage 4

This is almost the last and final stage of cancer as tumors now start affecting major organs of the body such as liver



The symptoms of pancreatic cancer are not that noticeable especially in the initial stages. They can be easily noticed as the cancer stages develop. Some of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer are listed below :

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of weight
  • Jaundice ( yellowing of skin and eyes)
  • A high temperature
  • Itchy skin
  • Dark coloured urine
  • Diarrhoea
  • Pain in the upper part of the abdomen
  • Indigestion
  • Feeling bloated
  • Diabetes
  • Blood clots



The exact cause of pancreatic cancer is not known yet. But there are some factors that tend to activate the oncogene that is present in the abnormal growth of the cell mass or tissue. Such factors are listed below :

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Pancreatitis (chronic inflammation of pancreas)
  • Old age
  • Family history of pancreatic cancer
  • Family history of any other genetic syndromes
  • Gender ( men have a higher chance of having it)
  • High fat diet


The pancreatic cancer may be left undiagnosed in its initial stages as it is difficult for one to diagnose it. However, in the advance or later stages it can be diagnosed easily by certain tests and examinations. They are listed below :

  • Reviewing the medical history of the patient
  • Physical examination
  • Certain blood tests
  • Computed tomography (CT ) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Ultrasound
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  • Biopsy


There are various ways of treating cancer. The type of treatment a  person receives depend on the type and stage of the cancer. Some of the treatments are listed below :

  • Surgery to remove tumors present in the pancreatic head
  • Surgery for tumors in the pancreatic body and tail
  • Surgery to remove the entire pancreas
  • Surgery for the removal of tumors that affect the nearby blood vessels
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Clinical trials
  • Supportive (palliative) care

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