Screening for Pancreatic Cancer

Screening for Pancreatic Cancer

Tumors of the pancreas originate from multiple types of cells that constitute the pancreas. Not all pancreas tumors are malignant and some of them can be pre-malignant or benign. Tests and sometimes biopsies need to be done to assess for malignancy. The most common type of pancreatic malignant tumors originates from pancreas cells that line the pancreatic duct, and it is called pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Another type of cells called endocrine cells give rise to a tumor called pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor.

Treatment and prognosis of these two different pancreatic tumors differ significantly, thus the importance of understanding which type of tumor the patient has. Pancreatic papillary pseudotumors are a rare entity with a malignant potential.

Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include smoking, prolonged history of chronic pancreatitis, certain familial cancer syndromes, obesity, diabetes.