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Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic Cancer Treatment, Prognosis, Stages, Diagnosis, and Risks

As one of the highest volume pancreatic cancer centers in the United States, UPMC CancerCenter tailors treatment to you, your cancer, and your way of life. We provide personal, supportive care for pancreatic cancer, including advanced therapies and clinical trials.

Pancreatic Cancer Information

Understanding pancreatic cancer will help you make informed decisions about your treatment. Learn more about your cancer, the risk factors and symptoms associated with the disease, and how doctors diagnose pancreatic cancer.

What is Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer occurs when cancerous cells form in the tissues of the pancreas.

The pancreas is located in your abdomen, behind the lower part of your stomach. Because of its location, symptoms of pancreatic cancer may go unnoticed until the disease has progressed.

Accurate diagnosis and precise treatment is necessary to combat pancreatic cancer.

Exocrine pancreatic cancer

The most common type is exocrine pancreatic cancer (adenocarcinoma), which occurs in the ducts that carry pancreatic juices. These juices help with digestion. An adenocarcinoma occurs when the cells of the ducts abnormally divide quickly.

Pancreatic metastasis

Pancreatic metastasis is cancer that starts in the pancreas and spreads to another part of the body.

Pancreatic cancer often spreads to the:

Risk Factors and Symptoms

Risk factors may include:

  • Diabetes
  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • Pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas
  • Smoking

What are the Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer?

Symptoms, particularly in the early stages, are often not acute or intense. When they do appear, the cancer is often advanced.

Pancreatic cancer symptoms may include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
  • Unexplained and rapid weight loss
  • Upper abdominal pain or middle back pain
  • Difficulty digesting food
  • Blood clots
  • Sudden onset of diabetes
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Change in stools

Diagnosing Pancreatic Cancer

Tests and procedures to diagnose pancreatic cancer may include:

More about Pancreatic Cancer

Learn more about pancreatic cancer from the National Cancer Institute.

Schedule an Appointment at UPMC CancerCenter

There are two ways to schedule an appointment at UPMC CancerCenter:

  1. Fill out the UPMC Request an Appointment Form online.
  2. Call 412-647-2811.

If you have an immediate medical need, please call 911 or go to an emergency room for treatment.