Pancreatic Cancer

What is pancreatic cancer? It occurs when cancerous cells form in the tissue of the pancreas. The pancreas is a gland that produces enzymes and hormones to digest food and regulate blood sugar levels in the body. Pancreatic cancer is particularly complex and often has a poor prognosis.

How common are they? The American Cancer Society estimates there are more than 43,000 new pancreatic cases and more than 37,000 deaths annually.

Are there different types of pancreatic cancer? There are two types of pancreatic cancer:

  • Exocrine pancreatic cancer begins in the ducts that produce enzymes and digestive juices. There are many types of exocrine pancreatic tumors, and together they represent more than 95 percent of all pancreatic cancers.
  • Endocrine pancreatic cancer, also called islet cell cancer, begins in the cells that make hormones. Endocrine pancreatic cancers are far less common and tend to grow more slowly than exocrine pancreatic cancers.

What does University of Minnesota Physicians Cancer Care offer? Our pancreatic cancer specialists are forging new ways to diagnose and treat pancreatic cancer. We are one of only four institutions in the United States to be awarded a Specialized Program of Research Excellence grant for our pancreatic cancer research. This means our patients have the opportunity to work with some of the leading doctors in the country when it comes to preventing, slowing or treating this particularly difficult form of cancer.

Currently, our program has open clinical trials for state-of-the-art treatments, including drug therapies like Minnelide, Triptolide and Thunder God Vine. Learn more by clicking the link below.

Cancer Info

To learn more about screening, diagnosis, treatment options and after-treatment care, please use the links below to find more information in our cancer library.

Doctors and Providers