(Cancer of the Pancreas)
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- Age: 40 or older
- Sex: male
- Smoking and using smokeless tobacco (eg, chewing tobacco)
- Alcohol abuse
- Chronic pancreatitis, hereditary pancreatitis, family nonpolyposis colon cancer syndrome
- Family or personal history of certain types of colon polyps or colon cancer
- Family history of pancreatic cancer (especially in Ashkenazi Jews with BRCA2 [breast cancer associated]) gene
- High-fat diet
- Overweight or obese, which may also reduce your chance of survival from pancreatic cancer.
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Pain—in the upper abdomen, sometimes spreading to the back (a result of the cancer growing and spreading)
- Jaundice—yellowness of skin and whites of the eyes; dark urine (if the tumor blocks the common bile duct); tan stool or stool that floats to the top of the bowl.
- Weakness, dizziness, chills, muscle spasms, diarrhea (especially if the cancer involves the islet cells that make insulin and other hormones)
- Upper gastrointestinal (GI) series—a series of x-rays of the upper digestive system taken after drinking a barium solution
- Computed tomography (CT) scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the abdomen
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the abdomen
- Ultrasonography—a test that uses sound waves to find tumors
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) —a type of x-ray that shows the pancreatic ductal system after dye has been sent through a tube down the throat and into the pancreas
- Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC)—a type of x-ray test that shows blockages in the bile ducts of the liver
- Angiography—x-rays of blood vessels taken after an injection of dye that makes the blood vessels show up on the x-rays
- Biopsy—removal of a sample of pancreatic tissue to test for cancer cells
- Whipple procedure—removal of the head of the pancreas, part of the small intestine, and some of the tissues around it
- Total pancreatectomy—removal of the whole pancreas, part of the small intestine, part of the stomach, the bile duct, the gallbladder, spleen, and most of the lymph nodes in the area
- Distal pancreatectomy—removal of the body and tail of the pancreas
Radiation Therapy (Radiotherapy)
- External radiation therapy—radiation directed at the tumor from a source outside the body
- Internal radiation therapy—radioactive materials placed into the body in or near the cancer cells
Combined Modality Therapy
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing how much alcohol you drink or not drinking any alcohol
- Losing weight if you are overweight
- Eating a healthy diet
- Taking steps to prevent getting diabetes (eg, diet and exercise)
- Avoiding exposure to cancer-causing agents (eg, if you work in the petroleum or dry-cleaning industries)
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network http://www.pancan.org/
BC Cancer Agency http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca/
All about pancreatic cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/CRI%5F2x.asp?sitearea=dt=34 . Accessed July 24, 2009.
Carson-DeWitt R. Reducing your risk of pancreatic cancer. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated September 2009. Accessed April 9, 2010.
Pancreatic cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/pancreatic . Accessed July 24, 2009.
9/23/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Boffetta P, Hecht S, Gray N, Gupta P, Straif K. Smokeless tobacco and cancer. Lancet Oncol. 2008;9:667-675.
7/21/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Li D, Morris JS, Liu J, et al. Body mass index and risk, age of onset, and survival in patients with pancreatic cancer. JAMA. 2009;301:2553-2562.
3/5/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Tramacere I, Scotti L, Jenab M, et al. Alcohol drinking and pancreatic cancer risk: a meta-analysis of the dose-risk relation. Int J Cancer. 2010;126(6):1474-1486.
- Reviewer: Igor Puzanov, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 00/91/2012 -