Pancreatic Cancer

Around 8,800 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK each year, making it the 11th most common cancer. Cancer of the pancreas is more common in older people, with about half of all new cases diagnosed in people who are aged 75 or over. It’s uncommon in people under 40 years of age. Pancreatic cancer affects men and women equally.

Causes of Pancreatic Cancer:

It’s not fully understood what causes pancreatic cancer, but risk factors for developing the condition have been identified.

Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include:

  • age – it mainly affects people who are 50-80 years of age
  • smoking
  • having a history of other health conditions – such as diabetes, chronic pancreatitis (long-term inflammation of the pancreas), stomach ulcer and Helicobacter pylori infection (a stomach infection)

Cancer of the pancreas is difficult to treat. It rarely causes any symptoms in the early stages, so it’s often not detected until the cancer is fairly advanced. If the tumour is large, treating the cancer will be more difficult.

Surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy may all be used to treat pancreatic cancer. An important part of the care of people with pancreatic cancer is using treatments to control symptoms and make you feel more comfortable. This is known as supportive care. Research is going on to find more effective treatments for pancreatic cancer and you may be invited to take part in a clinical trial of a new drug or treatment.