Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the pancreas. (Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. To learn more about how cancers start and spread, see What Is Cancer?) Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is the most common type of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are a less common type and are discussed in Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors.
- While the causes of pancreatic cancer are largely unknown at this time, cancer is a disease that’s caused by mutations to the DNA. Studies have identified many risk factors that may lead to these mutations and the development of pancreatic cancer. This guide covers the basics of pancreatic cancer, as well as the risk factors and recent research.
- Signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer often don’t occur until the disease is advanced. They may include:
- Abdominal pain that radiates to your back
- Loss of appetite or unintended weight loss
- Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
- Light-colored stools
- Dark-colored urine
- Itchy skin
- New diagnosis of diabetes or existing diabetes that’s becoming more difficult to control
- Blood clots