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Tulane Liver & Pancreas Center ~ Pancreatic Cancer

 

The most common type of cancer of the pancreas is an adenocarcinoma.

Causes 

Heredity and age can influence pancreatic cancer as can other factors, including cigarette smoking, chronic pancreatitis, diabetes and obesity.

Symptoms

There are no clear early indicators of pancreatic cancer; tumors can grow without any symptoms at first.  In many cases symptoms only appear after the tumor has grown large enough to interfere with the function of other organs. Symptoms can include:

  • Abdominal or Back Pain
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Jaundice
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
Diagnosis

  • Blood Tests
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Serum Bilirubin Tests
  • Endoscopic Retrograde Choloangiopancreatography (ERCP)
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)
  • CT or MRI of the Abdomen
  • Pancreatic Biopsy
Treatment

  • Treatment of pancreatic cancer depends on the type, stage and location of the cancer, as well as the health status of the patient.
  • Surgery to remove all cancerous tissue currently offers the best chance for a cure or long-term management of the disease.