What is pancreatic cancer?


  • The pancreas lies behind the stomach and in front of the spine. It works to help the body use and store energy from food by producing hormones to control blood sugar levels and digestive enzymes to break down food.
  •  Pancreatic cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the pancreas grow out of control, forming a mass of tissue called a tumour.
  •  Early diagnosis is key: patients who are diagnosed in time for surgery have a much higher likelihood of surviving five years.
  •  Symptoms – including abdominal or back pain, weight loss, jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea, changes in stool, and diabetes – are often subtle and are generally initially attributed to other less serious and more common conditions. Seventy-one percent of people are unable to name a symptom – can you?
  •  The cause of the majority of pancreatic cancer cases is unknown. For the few known risk factors (e.g., familial history, smoking, obesity, age), more research is needed to understand their direct relationship to the disease. The known behavioural factors impact only a minority of pancreatic cancer cases.