What is Pancreatic Cancer?
The majority of pancreatic cancers start from the cells in the inner lining of the pancreatic ducts. These cells are known as exocrine cells which make enzymes to help digestion. Pancreatic cancers which form in this way are called exocrine tumours or adenocarcinomas, and make up over 90% of all pancreatic cancers.
The other types of pancreatic cancer are much less common and are mostly classified as endocrine tumours. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) are a group of tumours that start in hormone-producing cells and account for around 5% of pancreatic cancers.
The most common site is in the head of the pancreas although tumours can also grow in both the body and tail of the pancreas. The symptoms produced by pancreatic cancer vary according to the location of the tumours and the tumour type. Exocrine tumours are aggressive and difficult cancers to treat, and generally have a far worse prognosis (likely outcome) than pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours. Read about the symptoms and risk factors of pancreatic cancer here.