Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of your pancreas — an organ in your abdomen that lies horizontally behind the lower part of your stomach. Your pancreas secretes enzymes that aid digestion and hormones that help regulate the metabolism of sugars.
Pancreatic cancer often has a poor prognosis, even when diagnosed early. Pancreatic cancer typically spreads rapidly and is seldom detected in its early stages, which is a major reason why it's a leading cause of cancer death. Signs and symptoms may not appear until pancreatic cancer is quite advanced and complete surgical removal isn't possible.
The American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for pancreatic cancer in the United States for 2016 are:
Although there's no proven way to prevent pancreatic cancer, you can take steps to reduce your risk, including:
November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.