The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society


  • mortality is very high due to the aggressiveness of this malignancy
  • cigarette smoking is a strong risk factor
  • dietary factors e.g. fat intake increases risk while vegetables and fruits decreases risks
  • other risk factors are:
    • familial pancreatic cancer
    • chronic pancreatitis
    • abdominal surgeries like cholecystectomy
    • chemicals like DDT, 2-naphtylamine and gasoline derivatives
  • - commonest types are the adenocarcinomas


  • there may be no symptoms hence patients present late in the course of the disease
  • abdominal pain radiating to the back
  • generalized weakness
  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • malabsorption with passage of pale , bulky stools
  • hyperglycemia
  • jaundice
  • anemia


  • Surgical resection offers a chance for cure in localized lesions
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy or whipple's procedure if performed in centers with experienced staff , has a low mortality rate.
  • This cancer is usually resistant to chemotherapy
  • Adjuvant (post-operative) chemotherapy (5FU based regimen) plus radiation therapy
  • In advanced cases, gemcitabine plus radiation therapy have been shown to be effective
  • Other agents include streptozocin , mitomycin and 9-NC (9-Nitro-Camptothecin)
  • Effective pain palliation with narcotics, nerve blocks , radiation may be necessary