What is the pancreas?

The pancreas is a large gland that sits deep inside your abdomen, between your stomach, liver and spleen. It has two essential functions:

  • to break down your food and absorb nutrients
  • to help control blood sugar levels



What is pancreatic cancer?

Pancreatic cancer is the result of abnormal cell growth in the pancreas gland. When cells begin to act abnormally in the pancreas, they don’t die. This causes cells to grow out of control, and they form a lump. This lump is more commonly known as a tumour.

Two main types of tumours develop in the pancreas:

  • Exocrine tumours – these account for approximately 95% of pancreatic cancer cases. These type of tumours usually start in the lining of the pancreas ducts.
  • Endocrine tumours – these account for around 5% of pancreatic cancer cases. These type of tumours start in the hormone-producing cells of the pancreas.

Treatment options for pancreatic cancer include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Watch: What is pancreatic cancer - explained

What is pancreatic cancer?

Download our guide

Pancreatic Cancer Patient Guide

Easy to read information about diagnosis, treatment, diet and pain management in one place
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Patient Nutrition Guide

Helpful ways to manage nutrition during pancreatic cancer and treatment
Need help?

Talk to our pancreatic nurse coordinator 

Your pancreatic nurse coordinator will be your first point of contact during your treatment journey at Epworth. They will be able to provide answers to any questions that your or your family may have.
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