Pancreatic cancer is cancer that starts in the pancreas.
The pancreas is a large organ behind the stomach. It makes and releases enzymes into the intestines that help the body digest and absorb food, especially fats. The pancreas also makes and releases insulin and glucagon. These are hormones that help the body control blood sugar levels.
There are different types of pancreatic cancers.
The type depends on the cell the cancer develops in. Examples include:
• Adenocarcinoma, the most common type of pancreatic cancer
• Other more rare types include glucagonoma, insulinoma, islet cell tumor, VIPoma
The exact cause of pancreatic cancer is unknown.
It is more common in people who:
• Are obese
• Have a diet high in fat and low in fruits and vegetables
• Have diabetes
• Have long-term exposure to certain chemicals
• Have long-term inflammation of the pancreas (chronic pancreatitis)
The risk for pancreatic cancer increases with age. Family history of the disease also slightly increases the chance of developing this cancer.