About Pancreatic Cancer

Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer has often been called a “silent cancer” because it doesn’t usually cause symptoms that allow it to be diagnosed early. When symptoms do occur, they depend on where the tumor is, how large it is and whether the cancer has spread. These symptoms may include:

  • Jaundice that turns the whites of the eyes and the skin yellow
  • Pain or pressure in the back or upper abdomen
  • Loss of appetite; indigestion; nausea and vomiting; weight loss

Diagnosing Pancreatic Cancer

Doctors use sophisticated imaging technologies to look inside your body and diagnose pancreatic cancer, and to see if it has spread. These technologies include computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scans, as well as ultrasound.

Pancreatic Cancer: Causes and Risk Factors

Pancreatic cancer’s causes are unknown, but there are many risk factors — like smoking, family history and being from certain racial or ethnic groups — that increase your chances of getting the disease.

Treatments

Pancreatic cancer treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Surgery for pancreatic cancer usually aims to remove the cancer, and is accompanied by chemotherapy and radiation. When surgery is not an option, doctors use chemotherapy and radiation to try to shrink cancerous tissue and kill cancer cells.

There are also a growing number of experimental treatments for pancreatic cancer. These include new drugs that might be effective but haven’t been approved for pancreatic cancer by the Food and Drug Administration.

Learn more about pancreatic cancer treatments >>

Why Choose Virginia Mason?

At Virginia Mason, our patients’ survival rates far exceed state and national averages for pancreatic cancer. Our doctors have spent years specializing in the disease and their experience, combined with state-of-the-art treatments, enables us to give hope to every patient. Learn more >>

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment or for more information, please call (206) 341-1652.