Why is pancreatic cancer hard to treat?

John A. Chabot
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism

Like many other forms of cancer, pancreatic cancer can spread locally to blood vessels and surrounding organs such as the stomach. Cancer cells can also break away to affect more distant sites, such as the liver, lungs, and lymph nodes. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most challenging diseases physicians face today because it is difficult to diagnose early and responds poorly to treatment. Despite the fact that these secondary tumors affect sites other than the pancreas, they are still considered and treated as pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers. Even with aggressive treatment, the prognosis is poor. Early detection is uncommon. Few pancreatic cancers are found in the early stages of the disease when the cancerous cells can be surgically removed. Pancreatic cancer also tends to spread quickly. The pancreas lies at the junction of several very important structures in your abdomen, making it easy for the cancer to spread into these structures and organs.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.