Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

What is Pancreatic Cancer?

The pancreas is a gland that produces juices that help digest food and hormones—such as insulin and glucagon—to help control blood sugar levels. Both of these hormones help the body use and store the energy it gets from food. Exocrine pancreas cells produce the digestive juices, and endocrine pancreas cells produce the hormones. Pancreatic cancer occurs when malignant cells grow out of control. About 95% of pancreatic cancers begin in exocrine cells.

Diagram of the pancreas
Anatomy of the pancreas. The pancreas has three areas: head, body, and tail. It is found in
the abdomen near the stomach, intestines, and other organs. (click to enlarge)

Types of Pancreatic Cancer

There are several types of pancreatic cancers, including:

Neuroendocrine Tumors

There are also tumors in the pancreas that are called endocrine tumors because they secrete hormones. They may be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Some neuroendocrine tumors in the pancreas include the following:

Stanford Medicine Resources:

Footer Links: