Pancreatic Cancer: A Guide for Patients

Guides for Patients are designed to assist patients, their relatives and caregivers to better understand the nature of different types of cancer and evaluate the best available treatment choices.

What is pancreatic cancer?

Pancreatic cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells appear in the tissue of the pancreas. The pancreas is made up of two different kinds of tissue with different functions: the exocrine pancreas, which secretes enzymes into the digestive tract, which help to break down fats and proteins, and the endocrine pancreas, which secretes glucagon and insulin into the bloodstream in order to control blood sugar levels. In most cases, pancreatic cancers develop in the exocrine pancreas.

Beyond a definition of pancreatic cancer, in this guide for patients you will find answers to questions such as:

  • Is pancreatic cancer frequent?
  • What causes pancreatic cancer?
  • How is pancreatic cancer diagnosed?
  • What is it important to know to get the optimal treatment?
  • What are the treatment options?
  • What are the possible side effects of the therapies?
  • What happens after the treatment?

This guide for patients has been prepared in collaboration with  Anti-Cancer Fund as a service to patients, to help patients and their relatives better understand the nature of Pancreatic Cancer and appreciate the best treatment choices available according to the subtype of Pancreatic Cancer. ESMO recommends that patients ask their doctors about what tests or types of treatments are needed for their type and stage of disease.

Patient Guides for Pancreatic Cancer were published in 2012.