Pancreatic cancer concept and pancreas symbol for malignant tumors as digestive body part with gastric junction with a malignant tumor growth with 3D illustration elements. (Source: Shutterstock)

Pancreatic Cancer


Pancreatic tumours are tumours of the pancreas. Men suffer slightly more often than women. The peak of the disease is between 60 and 70 years of age.

If swellings of the pancreas are found during an imaging procedure, they are most often simple cysts or pseudo cysts left behind after an infection, which rarely cause symptoms and requires no treatment. However, about 30 percent of the masses in the pancreas identified by imaging are real tumours (tissue formation).

Pancreatic tumours are classified according to how they relate to normal tissue and the degree of malignancy. Three quarters of tumours arise in the pancreatic head, the farthest area to the right, situated at the duodenum; 20 percent in the middle part (body), five percent in the left extremity of the spleen and pancreatic tail.

Patients with chronic pancreatitis (usually caused by long-term alcohol consumption) or diabetes mellitus, with cystic changes, are overweight, and smoke, carry a greater risk of the disease. Also, a genetic predisposition may play a role.

Patients with the disease initially have mainly non-specific symptoms such as weight loss, fatigue and poor performance, upper abdominal discomfort and indigestion. If a carcinoma blocks the urinary biliary tract, there is a painless jaundice (jaundice), with a different stool colour, and an enlarged gallbladder which is not tender.

Endoscopic retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), ultrasonography, computed tomography (CT) and fine needle biopsy are needed to confirm the diagnosis. Tumour markers are more likely used to monotor the progress of the condition, but are not used to diagnose the disease.

Therapies for the treatment of pancreatic cancer: