What is pancreatic cancer?
Cancer in the pancreas occurs when the cells in the pancreas multiply out of control. A mass of tissue can result. Sometimes, this mass is benign (not cancerous). In pancreatic cancer, however, the mass is malignant (cancerous).
What is the pancreas?
The pancreas is an organ found behind the stomach. The main jobs of the pancreas are to aid in breaking down food and to regulate blood sugar levels in the body. The pancreas makes insulin, a hormone that lowers blood sugar.
What are the risk factors for pancreatic cancer?
The following can increase your risk of pancreatic cancer:
- Long-term diabetes
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Certain hereditary disorders
- Being older than 40
- Being male
- Being African-American
What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer?
Pancreatic cancer does not always show symptoms, especially in the earlier stages. However, pancreatic cancer can have the following symptoms:
- Upper abdominal pain that may spread to the back
- Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes (jaundice)
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Blood clots