What is pancreatic cancer?Pancreatic cancer happens when cells that aren't normal grow and start to form tumors in the pancreas, a small organ located deep in the belly, behind your stomach.The pancreas makes juices that help your body digest food. It also makes insulin and other hormones that help control your blood sugar. There are two main types of pancreatic tumors: exocrine and endocrine. The type of tumor depends on which type of cells are involved. Exocrine (say EX-oh-krin) cells make digestive juices. Endocrine (say EN-doh-krin) cells make insulin. Most people with pancreatic cancer have exocrine tumors, which grow faster than endocrine tumors.Treatments are more successful when cancer is found early. But in most cases, pancreatic cancer has already spread by the time it is found. Still, treatment may help you feel better, and it helps some people live longer.What causes pancreatic cancer?Experts don't know what causes pancreatic cancer. But they do know that changes in
To look for or diagnose pancreatic cancer, your doctor will use one or more imaging tests—tests that produce pictures of the pancreas and the area around it. Such tests include:CT scanor MRI. You lie on a table while a large scanner takes images. Dye may be injected in your arm or swallowed to make the images clearer.PET scan. A radioactive liquid called a tracer is injected in your arm. When the tracer has had time to reach your pancreas, you lie on a table while a large scanner takes pictures.Endoscopic ultrasound. A small tube is inserted through your mouth and down into your digestive system. A camera at the end of the tube takes ultrasound pictures of the pancreas. The doctor can also insert a needle through the tube to collect tissue samples.Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram. A small tube is inserted through your mouth and down into your digestive system. Dye is injected through the tube, and X-rays are taken. Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram. Dye is injected
Managing side effects The side effects of treatment can be serious. Healthy habits such as eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep and exercise may help control your symptoms. Your doctor may also give you medicines to help you with certain side effects, such as medicines to control and prevent nausea and vomiting.Home treatment for fatigue includes tips on how to manage tiredness that doesn't go away with rest or sleep. For example, if taking a shower is a priority, and if mornings are when you have the most energy, take your shower in the morning.Home treatment for nausea or vomiting includes watching for and treating early signs of dehydration, such as having a dry mouth or feeling lightheaded when you stand up. Eating smaller meals may help. So can a little bit of ginger candy or ginger tea. Home treatment for diarrhea includes resting your stomach and being alert for signs of dehydration. Check with your doctor before using any nonprescription medicines for your diarrhea.