The pancreas is an organ that produces both enzymes that are break down food in the intestines, and also hormones that control control of blood sugar such as insulin. The pancreas is very close to the first part of the small intestine and also the bile ducts that drain bile from the liver into the intestine. Sunsequently, pancreatic cancer can lead to jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and itch as the bile ducts become compressed and bile cannot drain freely. Other symptoms include pain in the abdomen and loss of weight.
Cancer of the pancreas is most often diagnosed by CT scan or MRI scan. ERCP can be used to examine the bile ducts and also place stents across bile duct narrowings allowing the bile to drain more freely.
The treatments for pancreatic cancer include surgery, chemotherapy and placing stents.