What You Need To Know About™ Cancer of the Pancreas

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This booklet is about cancer of the pancreas, also called pancreatic cancer.

There are two main types of pancreatic cancer. Most often, pancreatic cancer starts in the ducts that carry pancreatic juices. This type is called exocrine pancreatic cancer. This booklet is about this type of pancreatic cancer.

The booklets in the What You Need To Know About™ Cancer series will be retired on June 1, 2018. You can find accurate and up-to-date information about over 100 cancer types in the PDQ® cancer treatment information summaries for patients.

NCI’s Contact Center can help you find information about many types of cancer. Reach our information specialists by phone, chat, or email.

Learning about medical care for your cancer can help you take an active part in making choices about your care. This booklet covers:

  • The anatomy of the pancreas and basics about cancer of the pancreas
  • Treatments used for cancer of the pancreas, including taking part in research studies
  • Symptoms you might have and things you can do to feel better

This booklet has lists of questions that you may help you talk with your doctor. Many people find it helpful to take a list of questions to a doctor visit.

This booklet is not about the less common type of pancreatic cancer that begins in the cells that make hormones. This type is called endocrine pancreatic cancer or islet cell cancer. Islet cell pancreatic cancer is a different disease with different treatment options. For the latest information about islet cell pancreatic cancer, visit: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/isletcell.

The information in this booklet was last updated in May 2010.