Pancreatic cancer is an abnormal uncontrolled growth of cells in the pancreas. The cancer begins in the pancreatic ducts and spreads into the body of the pancreas. The surrounding nerves and blood vessels may also be infiltrated with cancerous cells. The cancer can spread to other organs via the lymphatic system.
Pancreatic cancer is often referred to as a 'silent disease' as it is frequently diagnosed in the later stages of growth. This is because the pancreas is located behind the stomach and the cancer can remain undetected until it grows large enough to affect nearby organs. Prognosis is poor for patients with pancreatic cancer, and alarmingly, treatments and survival rates have not changed for almost 40 years.
For the latest information about pancreatic cancer research at the Garvan Institute, visit www.garvan.org.au/research/our-work/cancer-pancreatic