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November Is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

November Is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

There will be more than 45,000 people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Of those, about 85 percent will succumb to the disease. Our weekly health articles this month will be devoted to pancreatic cancer awareness, detailing who is at risk, symptoms, treatment options and more.

How does Pancreatic Cancer Grow?

The pancreas is located in the abdomen, behind the stomach. It secretes enzymes that aid in digestion and hormones that help regulate sugar levels. Cancer occurs when cells in the pancreas develop mutations in their DNA. These mutated cells can grow uncontrollably and form a tumor.

The most common form of pancreatic cancer (about 95 percent) begins in the cells that line the ducts of the pancreas. This is referred to as pancreatic adenocarcinoma or pancreatic exocrine cancer. It is rare (about 5 percent) that cancer can form in the hormone-producing cells of the pancreas, but it can happen. This type of cancer is called islet cell cancer or pancreatic endocrine cancer.

"A pancreatic cancer diagnosis can be devastating, not only for patients, but also for their families," said pancreatic surgeon and surgical oncology specialist Wilbur Bowne, MD, associate professor in the Department of Surgery at Drexel University College of Medicine. "Our team takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating diseases such as this, and will work with the patient and his or her family to decide the best course of treatment, depending on where the cancer is located in the pancreas and whether or not it has spread to other parts of the body."

Drexel Cancer Care

Drexel Cancer Care utilizes the latest medical breakthroughs to treat all forms of cancer, including breast cancer. Our specialists are located centrally in Philadelphia, offering patients easy access to advanced cancer care, and are committed to providing patients with compassionate, comprehensive cancer treatment.

Drexel Cancer Care also provides patients with access to numerous support groups. These groups are offered free of charge to patients, families and caregivers.

The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.

The images being used are for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted is a model.

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