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Pancreatic Cancer

Introduction

Around 8,800 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK each year, making it the 11th most common cancer.

Cancer of the pancreas is more common in older people, with about half of all new cases diagnosed in people who are aged 75 or over. It's uncommon in people under 40 years of age.

Pancreatic cancer affects men and women equally.


The Pancreas

The pancreas is a large gland that's  part of the digestive system. It's about 15cm (six inches) long, and is located high in the abdomen, behind the stomach, where the ribs meet at the bottom of the breastbone.

The Pancreas produces:

  • Digestive Enzymes - which break down food so it can be absorbed into the body

  • Hormones - Including insulin, which helps keep your blood sugar levels stable       

  •      

                Pancreatic Cancer              

In the early stages, a tumour in the pancreas doesn't usually cause any symptoms, which can make it difficult to diagnose.

The first noticeable symptoms of pancreatic cancer are often:

  • Pain in the back or stomach area

  • Unexpected weight loss

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)               

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