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Pancreatic Cancer FAQ

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Q. What is Pancreatic Cancer?

A. Pancreatic cancer develops in the tissues of the pancreas, an organ that secretes enzymes that help with digestion and hormones that help regulate sugar metabolism. The pancreas situated in the abdomen behind the lower part of the stomach.

Q. What are the symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer?

A. Signs and symptoms may include upper abdominal pain that may radiate to your back, yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice), loss of appetite, weight loss, depression, and blood clots

Q. What causes pancreatic cancer?

A. Currently, it isn’t known what causes pancreatic cancer, however, we do know that cancer occurs when cells develop mutations in their DNA. These mutations cause the cells to grow rapidly and uncontrollably, eventually forming a tumor.

Q. What are the risk factors?

A. Risk factors may include:

  • Being African-American
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Chronic inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of genetic syndromes that can increase cancer risk, including a BRCA2 gene mutation, Lynch syndrome and familial atypical mole-malignant melanoma (FAMMM)
  • Personal or family history of pancreatic cancer
  • Smoking

Q. I think I’m at risk, what should I do?

A. If you think you’re at risk, consult your physician. They may recommend one or more of the following tests to diagnose the cancer:

  • Imaging tests to create pictures of your internal organs
  • Using a scope to inject dye into the pancreatic ducts
  • Removing a tissue sample for testing (biopsy)

To learn more about pancreatic cancer at The Center for Specialized Surgery, please call 407.303.7399 or request an appointment on our website.