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Pancreatic Cancer — Overview, Symptoms, Treatments, and Other Resources.
Pancreatic Cancer (also known as Cancer of the Pancreas)
Comprehensive Guides
Information on Pancreatic Cancer from the National Library of Medicine (NIH)
Pancreatic cancer is hard to catch early. It doesn't cause symptoms right away. When you do get symptoms, they are often vague or you may not notice them. They include yellowing of the skin and eyes, pain in the abdomen and back, weight loss and fatigue. Also, because the pancreas is hidden behind other organs, health care providers cannot see or feel the tumors during routine exams. Because it is often found late and it spreads quickly, pancreatic cancer can be hard to treat. Possible treatments include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Read more at the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

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Information on Pancreatic Cancer from the MD Anderson Clinic
Pancreatic cancer, also called pancreas cancer, occurs when cancer cells form in the tissues of the pancreas. The pancreas has two different functions: It makes enzymes that help digest food in the small intestine and It makes hormones, such as insulin, that are secreted into the bloodstream. Almost all pancreatic cancers start in the cells that make enzymes, and most pancreatic cancers are adenocarcinomas. The risk of pancreatic cancer increases with age, with most being diagnosed between 60 to 80 years old. Find extensive information at the University of Texas MD Anderson Clinic.

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Information on Pancreatic Cancer from Sloan Kettering Cancer Clinic
Cancer of the pancreas is diagnosed in more than 37,000 people in the United States each year. Most cases occur in people over the age of 55. However, pancreatic cancer can occur in younger people, particularly those with a family history of the disease. Unfortunately, there are often no symptoms early on, making pancreatic cancer difficult to diagnose in its beginning stages. Read more at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

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Pancreas Cancer: Essentials
What is it? What are the symptoms? How is it diagnosed? How common is it? What will happen? Questions to ask. Key points. More at ConsumerReports.org.

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Fact Sheets, Tutorials, Interactive Tools, and other Interesting Information
Pancreatic Cancer - A risk assessment questionnaire
"Your Disease Risk" from Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine - A risk assessment questionnaire.

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H. Pylori and Pancreatic Cancer
A fact sheet on "Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) seropositivity as a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. Read more at the National Cancer Institute.

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Incidence, Mortality, and Trends for Pancreatic Cancer in the U.S.
Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results fact sheet from the National Cancer Institute.

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How much do you know about Pancreatic Cancer?
Play a match game to test your knowledge of pancreatic cancer and get family and friends involved by forwarding the game.

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Videos and Podcasts
Video Video: Advances in Pancreatic Cancer Care
A 1 hour video from the National Library of Medicine and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

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Podcast Podcast: Green tea (Camellia sinensis) for the prevention of cancer
Various aspects of our daily lives might cause, or prevent, cancer. Katja Boehm and colleagues have done a Cochrane review for one of these, green tea, summarizing the evidence on whether it reduces the risk of cancer.

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Podcast Podcast: Screening for Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is a deadly disease with a relatively poor prognosis. Screening for this cancer in high-risk individuals can lead to earlier detection and a better chance for a cure through surgery. Gastroenterologist Dayna Early, MD, discusses the benefits of pancreatic cancer screening, who is at high risk for the disease and what tests are used for early detection. Listen to the podcast at Siteman Cancer Center.

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Podcast Audio: Patient Voices - In their own words
It is estimated that 5 percent of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive past five years. What is it like to be faced with such statistics? To survive? Here, in their own words, are the experiences of seven men and women. Hear their stories at the New York Times.

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Forums & Support Communities


Clinical Practice Guidelines
Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments for pancreatic cancer as reported by the NHS Evidence UK Database
Reliable up-to-date systematic reviews have revealed important continuing uncertainties about treatment effects of Chemoradiotherapy for pancreatic carcinoma in patients with no disease progression following 3-4 months of induction chemotherapy.

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Screening for Pancreatic Cancer
Key Question 1: Is there new direct evidence that screening provides more benefit than harm? Key Question 2: Are there new tests (or new evidence about old tests) that substantially improve the accuracy of screening? Key Question 3: Are there new treatments (or new evidence about old treatments) that improve outcomes for people with pancreatic cancer? See National Guideline Clearinghouse major recommendations.

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The treatment of locally advanced pancreatic cancer
INTERVENTIONS AND PRACTICES CONSIDERED: 1. Chemoradiotherapy (bolus 5-fluorouracil [5-FU] combined with radiation) 2. Radiotherapy alone 3. Chemotherapy alone 4. Anti-cancer treatments (listed above) in combination with supportive care (e.g., pain control, nutritional support). See National Guideline Clearinghouse major recommendations.

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Surgical treatment of Pancreatic Cancer
Treatment: In North America, less than one in five patients will have resectable tumors. Tumors in the head of the pancreas are treated by pancreaticoduodenectomy, with or without preservation of the pylorus. Preoperative or intraoperative histologic evidence of malignancy is not required to carry out resection in experienced hands. While a distal pancreatectomy with splenectomy is the procedure of choice for tumors of the body or tail of the pancreas, it is only possible in about 1 in 20 patients. See National Guideline Clearinghouse major recommendations.

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Use of gemcitabine in the treatment of advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma
MAJOR RECOMMENDATIONS Gemcitabine should be offered as treatment to patients with advanced or unresectable pancreatic cancer. There is evidence from one randomized controlled trial that gemcitabine improves symptoms and modestly improves survival in patients with advanced or unresectable pancreatic cancer. See National Guideline Clearinghouse major recommendations.

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Important Articles from Medical Journals
Soft Drink and Juice Consumption and Risk of Pancreatic Cancer
Background: Sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages (called soft drinks) and juices, which have a high glycemic load relative to other foods and beverages, have been hypothesized as pancreatic cancer risk factors. However, data thus far are scarce, especially from non-European descent populations. We investigated whether higher consumption of soft drinks and juice increases the risk of pancreatic cancer in Chinese men and women. See abstract at Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

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Metformin (Glucophag) reduces the growth of pancreatic cancer
Investigators supported by the Hirshberg Foundation, including dr Kisfalvi (a recipient of a seed grant from the Foundation), Dr. Eibl (Hirshberg Laboratories at UCLA) and Dr. Rozengurt (the Hirshberg Chair in Pancreatic Cancer Research) have shown that metformin, the most widely prescribed drug for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus, inhibit pancreatic cancer growth in preclinical animal models and human pancreatic cancer cells in culture. See full text at the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

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Abstract: Total pancreatectomy for pancreatic adenocarcinoma: evaluation of morbidity and long-term survival
OBJECTIVE: To analyze relative perioperative and long-term outcomes of patients undergoing total pancreatectomy versus pancreaticoduodenectomy. BACKGROUND: The role of total pancreatectomy has historically been limited due to concerns over increased morbidity, mortality, and perceived worse long-term outcome. See Abstract at PubMed.

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Abstract: Molecular targeted therapies for pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer cells express different mutations that increase the aggressiveness and confer resistance to conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Molecules that selectively bind and inhibit these mutations are effective in other solid tumors and are now emerging as a complementary therapy in pancreatic cancer. Full text available free through PubMed.

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Abstract: What oncologists tell patients about survival benefits of palliative chemotherapy and implications for informed consent: qualitative study
OBJECTIVE: To examine how much oncologists tell patients about the survival benefit of palliative chemotherapy during consultations at which decisions about treatment are made. DESIGN: Qualitative study in which consultations were observed and digitally recorded. Full text available free through PubMed.

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Abstract: Antidiabetic therapies affect risk of pancreatic cancer
Antidiabetic drugs have been found to have various effects on cancer in experimental systems and in epidemiologic studies, although the association between these therapeutics and the risk of human pancreatic cancer has not been explored. We investigated the effect of antidiabetic therapies on the risk of pancreatic cancer. See Abstract at PubMed

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Abstract: Body mass index and risk, age of onset, and survival in patients with pancreatic cancer
CONTEXT: Obesity has been implicated as a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate the association of excess body weight across an age cohort and the risk, age of onset, and overall survival of patients with pancreatic cancer. See Abstract at PubMed.

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Abstract: Obesity potentiates the growth and dissemination of pancreatic cancer
Obesity is an independent risk factor for pancreatic cancer development and progression, although the mechanisms underlying this association are completely unknown. The aim of the current study was to investigate the influence of obesity on pancreatic cancer growth using a novel in vivo model. See Abstract at PubMed.

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Looking for a Top-Rated Surgeon, Oncologist, or Gastroenterologist?
Consumers' Guide to Top Doctors finds the Doctors Rated Best by other Doctors
To find out who the top doctors are around the country, nonprofit Consumers' CHECKBOOK surveyed roughly 340,000 physicians to tell us which specialists they would want to care for a loved one. The Top Doctors database contains the names of over 23,000 doctors who were mentioned most often. Find top-rated doctors in the fifty largest metropolitan areas, in over thirty-five specialties, and more.
Drawing of Normal Pancreas

View a Pancreatic Cancer PSA
Source: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Consumers' Guide to Top Doctors finds the Doctors Rated Best by other Doctors in over 30 specialties.

Search Top Doctors database of 23,000 top-rated physicians by Doctor's Name

Search Top Doctors database of 23,000 top-rated physicians by Specialty (over 35 different fields included)

November is National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month
Source: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Consumers' Guide to Hospitals
Which Hospital Should You Choose
(or Avoid)?
"What makes the Consumers' Guide to Hospitals so special? We've got 30 million answers to that question. That's how many hospital records Consumers' CHECKBOOK sifted through to calculate risk-adjusted death rates and adverse-outcome rates, and that's just part of the data used to rate the hospitals. The organization also sent out more than 280,000 questionnaires to physicians in 53 major metropolitan areas in the United States, asking them to rate their local hospitals; checked ratings of the hospitals by surveyed consumers; checked which hospitals were providing recommended tests and procedures for patients with specified medical problems; and more."
AARP The Magazine

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