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Pancreatic cancer, also known as pancreatic adenocarcinoma, is one of the deadliest cancers. Even with aggressive treatment, the prognosis is poor.
Various factors stack the odds against successful pancreatic cancer treatment:
Early detection is uncommon. Few pancreatic cancers are found in the early stages of the disease, when the cancerous cells can be surgically removed. Signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer — such as pain in the upper abdomen, yellow skin and eyes, and weight loss — don't typically occur until the disease is advanced.
There are no effective screening tests for pancreatic cancer. If you or your family has a significant history of pancreatic or other cancer, discuss with your doctor whether you should be undergoing any genetic testing or routine checkups.
Most people with pancreatic cancer undergo chemotherapy as part of their treatment. Several newer combination treatments show promise in increasing the response rate to pancreatic cancer treatment.
Karthik Giridhar, M.D.
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