The pancreas is an organ responsible for making certain hormones and aiding in digestion. Having pancreatic cancer means you have dangerous cell growth in your pancreas. In the US, pancreatic cancer represents about three percent of all cancers.
Exocrine tumors are the most common type of pancreatic cancer. These cancers affect the glands that make and release digestive enzymes. Endocrine tumors are less common and affect pancreatic islets cells, which make hormones, including glucagon and insulin.
Dignity Health Central California offers expert diagnostic and treatment services for signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer at any stage. We provide trusted care for this gastrointestinal cancer with humankindness. Use our online Find a Doctor tool and schedule an appointment with an oncologist for pancreatic cancer in Central California.
What Causes Pancreatic Cancer?
The cause of pancreatic cancer isn’t fully understood. However, many risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer, including:
- Age older than 60
- Being overweight
- Genetics, including gene mutations
- Male gender
- Tobacco use
- African American race
- Family history of pancreatic cancer
While there is no definitive way to prevent pancreatic cancer, addressing the risk factors you can control can help reduce your risk.
Pancreatic Cancer Signs
The pancreas is located behind the stomach, deep within the abdomen. This makes it virtually impossible to feel tumors as they grow larger. Pancreatic cancer also tends to spread rapidly. As a result of these factors, it is hard to find pancreatic cancer in its early stages. Pancreatic cancer has often metastasized (spread) to other organs by the time people start to notice symptoms.
Once signs of pancreatic cancer occur, they can include:
- Changes in bowel movements
- Digestive problems
- Blood clots
- Back pain or abdominal pain
- Abdominal swelling
- Lack of appetite and weight loss
Pancreatic Cancer Care at Dignity Health Central California
At Dignity Health Central California, your personalized treatment plan will be guided by the type and stage of pancreatic cancer you have. Typical treatment options include:
- Targeted cancer therapy
Because it is often hard to cure or eliminate pancreatic cancer, treatment may aim to ease pain and other symptoms and slow cancer growth. Your Dignity Health Central California doctor will be with you every step of the way offering advanced treatment with a healing touch. Dignity Health Central California provides specialized care with humankindness when treating pancreatic cancer in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.