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Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the pancreas.

Where is the pancreas located in the abdomen?

The pancreas is an organ that sits behind the stomach.

The head of the pancreas is on the right side of the abdomen (belly), behind where the stomach meets the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). 

The body of the pancreas is behind the stomach. 

The tail of the pancreas is on the left side of the abdomen and is next to the spleen.


Pancreatic adenocarcinoma: About 95% of cancers of the exocrine pancreas are adenocarcinomas. These cancers usually start in the ducts of the pancreas. Less often, they develop from the cells that make the pancreatic enzymes, in which case they are called acinar cell carcinomas.

Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are a less common type.

TESTS for Pancreatic Cancer

  • CT scans
  • MRI
  • ERCP- Endoscopic retrograde pancreatography
  • EUS- Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Biopsy of the tumor
  • Diagnostic laparoscopy

TREATMENT for Pancreatic adenocarcinoma

  • Surgery
  • Depending on the location of the cancer, one of the following surgery will be done:
    • Whipple procedure (pictured on the right)
    • Distal pancreatectomy
    • Total pancreatectomy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation