What is pancreatic cancer?
Pancreatic cancer develops when abnormal cells in the pancreas grow out of control, forming a tumour. About 550 people are diagnosed with it in Ireland every year.
The most common type of pancreatic cancer is adenocarcinoma. These cancers are found in the head of the pancreas, in the ducts. About 9 in 10 patients will have adenocarcinoma.
Pancreatic cancer may cause very few symptoms in the beginning, but as it grows it can cause symptoms.
What is the pancreas and what does it do?
The pancreas is a gland that is part of your digestive system. It is approximately 6 inches long and lies deep inside your tummy, behind your stomach.
It has 3 main parts: the head, the body and the tail. It is close to several large and important organs and blood vessels.
The pancreas makes digestive juices (enzymes). The digestive juices break down food so that it can be absorbed into the lymph and bloodstreams. The pancreas also makes hormones, including insulin, which control sugar levels in the blood.
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