(Cancer of the Pancreas)
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- Smoking and using smokeless tobacco, such as chewing tobacco
- Alcohol use disorder
- Chronic pancreatitis, hereditary pancreatitis, or 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 gene, which is associated with breast cancer
- High-fat diet
- Obesity, 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—yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, dark urine, tan stool, or stool that floats to the top of the bowl
- Weakness, lightheadedness, chills, muscle spasms, diarrhea—especially if the cancer involves the islet cells that make insulin and other hormones
- Upper gastrointestinal (GI) series
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
- Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC)
- 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
- External—radiation directed at the tumor from a source outside the body
- Internal—radioactive materials placed into the body in or near the cancer cells
Combined Modality Therapy
- Talk to your doctor about how you can successfully quit smoking
- Drink alcohol in moderation, which is a maximum of 2 drinks or less per day for men and a maximum of 1 drink per day for women
- Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
- Eat a healthful diet
- If possible, minimize exposure to cancer-causing agents, especially 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
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Pancreatic Cancer Canada http://www.pancreaticcancercanada.ca
Pancreatic cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003131-pdf.pdf. Accessed August 25, 2014.
Pancreatic cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 12, 2014. Accessed August 25, 2014.
Pancreatic cancer—for patients. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/pancreatic. Accessed August 25, 2014.
9/23/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Boffetta P, Hecht S, Gray N, Gupta P, Straif K. Smokeless tobacco and cancer. Lancet Oncol. 2008;9(7):667-675.
7/21/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: 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(24):2553-2562.
3/5/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: 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: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 09/2015 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -