The pancreas serves two functions in the body. It produces digestive juices that help digest food, and hormones (such as insulin) that regulate how the body stores and uses food.
The area of the pancreas that produces digestive juices is called the exocrine pancreas. These juices contain enzymes that break down fats and proteins in the diet so the nutrients can be absorbed by the small intestine and used by the body to repair tissues or grow. The exocrine ducts that carry this pancreatic juice to the common bile duct and eventually to the small intestine.
A small percentage of the cells in the pancreas are endocrine cells. These cells are arranged in small clusters called islets. The islet cells release two hormones, insulin and glucagon, that are important in controlling the amount of sugar in the blood.
About 95% of pancreatic cancers begin in the exocrine pancreas. There are several types of tumors that can develop in the exocrine pancreas. Tumors of the endocrine pancreas are much less common.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 28,3000 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas in the year 2000.
Treatment of pancreatic cancer usually consists of a combination of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and hepatic arterial occlusion.
The Medifocus Guide on Pancreatic Cancer provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
What are the most common symptoms of pancreatic cancer?
Are there any recognized risk factors for developing pancreatic cancer?
What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer?
What is the current standard of care for the treatment of pancreatic cancer?
What treatment options are available for the management of pancreatic cancer?
Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in pancreatic cancer?
Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for pancreatic cancer?
What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about pancreatic cancer?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
Pancreatic cancer: state-of-the-art care. Ca: a Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2000
Resectable carcinoma of the pancreatic head developing 7 years and 4 months after distal pancreatectomy for carcinoma of the pancreatic tail. Journal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery. 2000
Roles of gastrointestinal hormones in pancreatic cancer. Journal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery. 2000
Spindle cell carcinoma of the pancreas. Journal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery. 2000
Large acinar cell carcinoma of the pancreas in a patient with elevated serum AFP level. Journal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery. 2000
Macrocystic serous cystadenoma of the pancreas. Journal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery. 2000
Pancreaticoduodenal resection. Journal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery. 2000
Laparoscopy and peritoneal cytology in the staging of pancreatic cancer. Journal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery. 2000
Can we screen high-risk individuals to detect early pancreatic carcinoma?. Journal of Surgical Oncology. 2000
Chemotherapy in the treatment of neuroendocrine malignant tumors. Digestion. 2000
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