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Pancreatic Cancer

Cancer of the pancreas may be called pancreatic cancer or carcinoma of the pancreas. It can also be called exocrine cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, pancreatic cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the tissues of the pancreas. Most pancreatic cancers begin in the ducts that carry pancreatic juices. According the American Cancer Society, rates of pancreatic cancer have dropped slightly over the past 15 to 25 years, yet it is currently the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths overall.

Internet Resources

MedlinePlus: Pancreatic Cancer
Developed at the National Library of Medicine specifically for consumers, this site provides a portal for authoritative information from both government-sponsored and privately developed health information websites.

Cancer.gov: Pancreatic Cancer
This site provides access to authoritative documents from the National Cancer Institute, including information about treatment, supportive care, and clinical trials.

American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is dedicated to fighting cancer with sections on education, support and treatment, and research. This site has many resources available to patients, families, and caregivers.

Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
This site contains information about the many services offered by Northwestern’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of thirteen founding members of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).


  • Everything you need to know about cancer in language you can actually understand. Galsky M. 2010.
  • What to eat during cancer treatment: 100 great-tasting, family-friendly recipes to help you cope. Besser J. 2009.
  • Your brain after chemo: a practical guide to lifting the fog and getting back your focus. Silverman D and Davidson I. 2009.
  • 100 questions and answers about pancreatic cancer. O’Reilly, E., and Kelvin, J. 2003.
  • Pancreatic cancer: Gale encyclopedia of cancer. Longe J. Ed. 2010. Available in print at the Health Learning Center or electronically at http://www.nmh.org/nm/health+library+virtual+library.

Journal Articles

  • “Pancreatic cancer: the stealth cancer. Pancreatic cancer is hard to detect and highly resistant to chemotherapy; new research reveals possible solutions.” Duke Medicine Health News. 15(4):9-10. April 2009.
  • “By the way, doctor. We have screening tests for other cancers. How about pancreatic cancer?” Harvard Health Letter, 34(7):1. Mayer RJ. May 2009.
  • “Pancreatic cancer: pathobiology, treatment options, and drug delivery.” AAPS Journal. 12(2):223-32. Li J. June 2010.
  • “Current concepts in the surgical management of pancreatic cancer.” Surgical Oncology Clinics of North America. 19(2):335-58. Thomas RM, Ahmad SA. April 2010.
  • “Pancreatic cancer.” New England Journal of Medicine. 362(17):1605-17. Hidalgo M. April 29, 2010.


  • Pancreas: with gallbladder and spleen


Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Alberto Culver Health Learning Center has joined forces with the American Cancer Society’s Patient Navigator Program to provide assistance to patients and families dealing with cancer. To take advantage of this unique service provided by a licensed clinical social worker, call 312.926.4282.

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
An organization devoted specifically to pancreatic cancer awareness, support and research funding.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the Alberto Culver Health Learning Center at 312-926-5465, or e-mail us at HLC@nmh.org.

Last UpdateNovember 2, 2012