Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms Diagnosed and Treated by Doctors at Mercy

Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer of the pancreas, which is a gland attached to the small intestine. This video shows how pancreatic cancer begins as well as various treatments for it.

At The Center for Comprehensive Pancreatic Care at Mercy in Baltimore, our doctors work with patients who have pancreatic cancer symptoms to develop individualized treatment options. Medical director Dr. Amit Raina works closely with Dr. Sergey Kantsevoy, one of region’s best therapeutic endoscopists, to fight pancreatic cancer and provide innovative treatment options for complex pancreatic disease. 

About the Condition

Pancreatic cancer develops when cells inside the pancreas grow uncontrollably and outlive normal cells to form a tumor. Pancreatic cancer can spread rapidly and is seldom detected early.

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Because pancreatic cancer symptoms often do not appear until the cancer is advanced, pancreatic cancer usually is not detected early. When pancreatic cancer symptoms do appear, they are similar to most other pancreatic diseases; therefore, it is important to see a pancreas specialist if any of the following pancreatic cancer symptoms occur:

  • Upper abdominal pain that can radiate to the back
  • Jaundice, or the yellowing of skin and whites of eyes
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Blood clots

Other factors that increase the risk of pancreatic cancer can include smoking, chronic pancreatitis, a long history of diabetes, and heredity.

Pancreatic cancer can be diagnosed by a variety of diagnostic tests including ultrasound, CT scans, and MRIs. In addition, pancreatic cancer can be detected using the following innovative techniques:

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Treatment Options

Pancreatic cancer treatment depends on the cancer stage and location, as well as age, overall health, and personal preferences. Treatment options for pancreatic cancer can include surgery, if the cancer is confined to the pancreas, as well as radiation or chemotherapy. Another pancreatic cancer treatment option is targeted therapy, in which drugs being investigated in clinical trials are prescribed to attack specific abnormalities in the cancer cells.