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How does pancreatic cancer spread?

The ability of cancer cells to invade neighboring tissue and spread to distant organs, called metastasis, is what makes pancreatic cancer such a dangerous and potentially deadly disease.

Metastasis is a very complex multistep process that requires a gradual accumulation of changes in the cells, or mutations. At the cellular level, metastasis is actually very rare. Only very few cells in a tumor ever develop the ability to spread, which makes it difficult to study.

Research indicates that, in pancreatic cancer, the metastasis process may begin much earlier than previously thought. Even some pre-malignant cells appear to begin moving away from their site of origin and taking on the characteristics of the cells that surround them, which are critical steps in metastasis.

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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.