What is the pancreas

pancreasThe pancreas is an endocrine and digestive organ that, in humans, lies in the upper left part of the abdomen. It is found behind the stomach. The pancreas is about 15 cm long. It is involved in blood sugar control and metabolism within the body, and also in the secretion of substances which help digestion.

What is pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer arises when cells in the pancreas begin to multiply out of control and form a mass. These cancerous cells have the ability to invade other parts of the body. There are a number of types of pancreatic cancer. The most common, pancreatic adenocarcinoma, accounts for about 85% of cases. Signs and symptoms of the most common form of pancreatic cancer may include yellow skinabdominal or back painunexplained weight loss, light-coloured stools, dark urine and loss of appetite. There are usually no symptoms in the disease’s early stages.

Who might experience it?

In 2015, pancreatic cancers of all types resulted in 411,600 deaths globally. Pancreatic cancer is the fifth most common cause of death from cancer in the United Kingdom, and the fourth most common in the United States. The disease occurs most often in the developed world, where about 70% of the new cases in 2012 originated.


Image credit: staff (2014). “Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014”. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wim/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436).

Adapted from Wikipedia

For more information, please visit the CRUK website

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