About the Pancreas |
What is Cancer? |
Pancreatic Cancer |
Pancreatic cancer starts out in the pancreatic ducts. Pancreatic ducts are a set of tube-like
structures that help the pancreatic enzymes to reach the small intestine-- so that food can
be digested. As pancreatic cancer grows, the tumor may invade organs that surround
the pancreas, such as the stomach or small intestine. Pancreatic cancer cells may also break
away from the tumor and spread to other parts of the body. When pancreatic cancer cells spread,
they often form new tumors in lymph nodes and the liver, and sometimes in the lungs or bones.
The new tumors have the same kind of abnormal cells and the same name as the original (primary)
tumor in the pancreas. For example, if pancreatic cancer spreads to the liver, the cancer cells
in the liver are pancreatic cancer cells. The disease is metastatic pancreatic cancer; it is not
The pancreas makes insulin to control blood sugar and enzymes to help digest food.
The liquid enzymes travel through the ducts and are squirted into the small intestine
that help digest food.