When cells in the pancreas grow, divide and spread in an abnormal manner, a malignant tumor may develop. This is termed as pancreatic cancer, but the exact cause behind this cancer has not been identified. Exocrine tumors and endocrine tumors are the two types of tumors that may form. Exocrine tumors, which are more common, are called adenocarcinomas, because they begin in the gland cells. The endocrine tumors are alternatively called islet cell tumors, and they are rare. Smoking and being overweight are two of the most prominent risk factors associated with pancreatic cancer. Heavy exposure to specific pesticides, dyes and chemicals may also lead to the development of this type of cancer.
HOW IS PANCREATIC CANCER DIAGNOSED?
In Stages IA, IB, IIA, IIB, III and IV of pancreatic cancer, the survival rates are 14%, 12%, 7%, 5%,3% and 1% respectively.