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Types of Pancreatic Cancer

Several types of cancer can affect the pancreas:

  • Exocrine pancreatic cancer (adenocarcinoma) occurs in the ducts that carry pancreatic juices. About 95 percent of pancreatic cancers affect the exocrine cells.
  • Neuroendocrine tumor (islet cell tumor) is a mass of abnormal cells in the endocrine (hormone-producing) tissues of the pancreas.
  • Ampullary cancer arises from the ampulla of Vater. This is where the liver bile duct and pancreatic duct come together and empty into the duodenum.
  • Cystic neoplasms and cysts are premalignant or benign pancreatic masses or lesions.
  • Locally advanced pancreatic cancers are those in which the tumor adheres to or invades adjacent structures.
  • Pancreatic metastasis is cancer that starts in the pancreas and spreads to another part of the body.
  • Other rare types of pancreatic cancer include:
    • Lymphoma: Because the lymphatic system runs through the body, tumors can develop anywhere.
    • Pancreatoblastoma: Rare tumors, mainly occurring in children, that have a link to genetic conditions Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis.
    • Sarcomas of the pancreas: Extremely rare cancer that develops in the connective tissue holding together the pancreas cells.