Pancreatic cancer treatment and diagnosis

Pancreatic cancer develops in the pancreas. It mainly affects people aged 50 to 80 years old. Half of the people who have pancreatic cancer are at least 75.

 

What is pancreatic cancer?

The pancreas is an organ found in the upper abdomen. It plays an important role in the digestive system, helping turn food into energy and producing insulin to keep blood sugar levels stable.

Causes of pancreatic cancer

The causes of pancreatic cancer are not yet fully understood. However, risk factors include:

  • Being very overweight
  • Eating processed meat
  • High alcohol consumption (leading to chronic pancreatitis)
  • Certain inherited diseases including Lynch or Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
  • Certain previous conditions including chronic pancreatitis, stomach ulcers, Helicobacter pylori infection and diabetes
  • Having two or more relatives who have previously had pancreatic cancer
  • Smoking – 1 in 3 cases are linked to cigarettes, cigars or chewing tobacco

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer don’t usually appear until quite late. This can make it difficult to diagnose. The earliest symptoms may include:

Back pain

Yellowing of the skin/eyes (jaundice)

Stomach pain

Unexplained weight loss

Extreme tiredness

Other symptoms may include:

Blood clots

Change in regular bowel movements (constipation or diarrhoea)

Feeling and/or being sick

High temperature and fever

Indigestion

Having one or more of these symptoms doesn’t mean you have cancer but it’s best to ask your doctor for advice. The sooner your cancer is detected, the better the chances of treating it successfully.

Tests and diagnosis

After discussing your symptoms, your doctor will carry out a physical examination. They may suggest some of the following tests:

  • Blood tests, including tumour markers (ca19-9)
  • ERCP
  • MRCP
  • Scans including MRI, CT, ultrasound and endoscopic ultrasound
  • Laparoscopy

Treatments we offer

Treatments for pancreatic cancer depend on the stage of the cancer. They may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and palliative care.

Radiotherapy kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

 

Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

Read more

Radiotherapy kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

 

Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

Read more

At GenesisCare we offer MRIdian MRI-guided radiotherapy, a ground-breaking new treatment that has been shown to be effective on pancreatic cancer, for example, when surgery is not possible.

Father and daughter at a beach

Compassionate access to MRIdian treatment

Thanks to the GenesisCare Foundation, Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund and ViewRay we are funding ground-breaking MRIdian treatment for eligible NHS patients

Read more

Meet our doctors

Our-doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

Search for a centre near you

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Birmingham

Little Aston Hall Drive, Sutton Coldfield, B74 3BF

+44 (0)121 514 1185

Bristol

300 Park Avenue, Aztec West, Bristol, BS32 4SY

+44 (0)1454 642801

Cambridge

Fordham Rd, Newmarket CB8 7XN, UK

+44 (0)1223 633 664

Chelmsford

Springfield Cancer Centre, Lawn Lane, Chelmsford, CM1 7GU

+44 (0)1245 676 351

Cromwell Hospital

164-178 Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London SW5 0TU, UK

+44 (0)203 613 9355

Elstree

Unit 710, Centennial Park, Centennial Avenue, Elstree, Borehamwood, WD6 3SZ

+44 (0)203 613 9356

Guildford

BMI St Martha Oncology Centre, 46 Harvey Road, Guildford, GU1 3LX

+44 (0)1483 676 898

Maidstone

17 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, ME19 4UA

+44 (0)1732 386 599

Milton Keynes

Sunrise Parkway, Linford Wood East, Milton Keynes, MK14 6LS

+44 (0)1908 448 166

Nottingham

The Park Centre for oncology, Sherwood Lodge Drive, Burntstump Country Park, Nottingham, NG5 8RX

+44 (0)1156 762 989

Oxford

Peters Way, Sandy Lane West, Oxford, OX4 6LB

+44 (0)1865 224 884

Portsmouth

Bartons Road, Havant, PO9 5NA

+44 (0)23 9280 0102

Southampton

Spire Hospital, Chalybeate Close, Southampton, SO16 6UY

+44 (0)238 008 5138

Windsor

69 Alma Road, Windsor, SL4 3HD

+44 (0)1753 465 493