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Pancreatic cancer

​​Cancer that starts in the pancreas is called pancreatic cancer.

Marshfield Clinic Cancer Specialist diagnose and treat all types of cancer.​​

Understanding the pancreas

Liver, gallbladder, stomach, and pancreas.

The pancreas is a gland (an organ that makes substances the body needs) located in the abdomen (stomach area). One of its jobs is to make pancreatic enzymes. They travel to the small intestine to help digest food. The pancreas also makes hormones, like insulin and glucagon, to help control the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

When pancreatic cancer forms

Pancreatic cancer forms when cells in the pancreas change and multiply abnormally. This cancer can interfere with the working of the pancreas and may invade nearby organs. Pancreatic cancer may also spread to other parts of the body. This spread is called metastasis. The more cancer spreads, the harder it is to treat.

Treatment choices for pancreatic cancer

You and your healthcare provider will discuss a treatment plan that's best for your needs. Treatment choices may include:

  • Surgery to remove the cancer in the pancreas and sometimes surrounding tissue.

  • Radiation therapy, which uses directed rays of energy to kill cancer cells.

  • Chemotherapy, which uses strong medicines to kill cancer cells.

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Contact us for care

If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Call: 1-866-520-2510

(Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)

Test Your Knowledge of Cancer's Warning Signs

Early detection of cancer is important because it is usually easier to treat—and possibly cure—when caught early. Do you know what signs to look for? Take this quiz to find out more.

1. Any sudden or progressive change in a mole's appearance could be a sign of skin cancer.
2. A new mole or a change in an existing mole may be a sign of skin cancer.
3. One sign of malignant melanoma is a mole with shades of tan, brown, black, or blue.
4. Changes, lumps, or hard masses in the testicles are signs of testicular cancer.
5. A change in bowel habits—blood in the stool or chronic constipation—is a common symptom of stomach cancer.
6. Lumps, hard knots, or a thickening in the breast could mean breast cancer.
7. A nagging cough or hoarseness could be signs of lung cancer.
8. Prostate cancer often has no symptoms in its early stages.
9. Symptoms of mouth or tongue cancer include a sore inside the mouth that doesn't heal and mouth pain that doesn't get better or go away.
10. Bladder cancer has no symptoms.