Pancreatic Cancer – Types of Pancreatic Cancer, Symptoms

Cancer that occurs in the pancreatic cells of the pancreas is called

pancreatic cancer.


is a glandular organ in the upper abdomen. It is located beneath the stomach, adjacent to the first portion of the small intestine. Adult pancreas is about 7 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. The pancreas is composed of glands that are responsible for a variety of body metabolism tasks.

Types of Pancreatic Cancer:

Pancreas has two glandular functions: Exocrine and Endocrine.

Function of exocrine glands is to secrete enzymes that help in the digestion of food. These glands are important with reference to digestive system of the body. Function of endocrine glands is to secrete hormones, that includes insulin, into the bloodstream.

Cancer can occur in either of the two glandular cells of the pancreas. The most common type is that arises from the exocrine glands called


of the pancreas. Cancer in endocrine is known as

neuroendocrine carcinoma


islet cell tumor.

Symptoms of Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma:

Initially, pancreatic adenocarcinoma does not show any symptoms. It is thus called a “silent” disease. Symptoms become prominent when the tumor blocks the common bile duct causing bile to hooked on and not pass into the digestive system. This causes:

  • All the signs of jaundice like yellow coloration of eyes, dark urine
  • Pain in the abdomen, the back, or both
  • The pain becomes worse after eating or while lying down
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatty Stools

In rare cases, this cancer may present with new diabetes in a person with weight loss and nausea.

Above enlisted symptoms are generally vague and they can be attributed to less serious conditions. With lack of specific symptoms, pancreatic adenocarcinoma is seen in high number of people in a more advanced stage of the disease when it is detected.


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