Pancreatic Cancer Metastatic

What is Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer?

Metastatic pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the pancreas but spreads to other parts of the body. The cancer cells can travel through the bloodstream or the lymph system and can spread to almost any other organ. This type of cancer is one of the most difficult to treat and is usually fatal within a few months of diagnosis.

Risk factors

Factors that increase the risk of developing metastatic pancreatic cancer include:

  • Age over 45
  • Being male
  • Having had Pancreatitis in the past
  • Having a close family member who has or had pancreatic cancer
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Having certain genetic syndromes (such as Lynch syndrome or BRCA2 syndrome)

How is it Diagnosed?

Metastatic pancreatic cancer can be difficult to diagnose, since the symptoms can be non-specific and mimic other conditions. Some of the tests used to diagnose metastatic pancreatic cancer include:

  • Imaging scans such as CT, MRI or PET scans
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound
  • Blood tests for specific genetic mutations associated with pancreatic cancer
  • Tissue biopsy

Treatment Options

Treatment options for metastatic pancreatic cancer vary, depending on the stage and location of the cancer. Treatment may include:

  • Surgery: This can involve removing part or all of the pancreas. In some cases, additional organs such as the small intestine, stomach, or gallbladder may need to be removed.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is used to kill cancer cells or stop their growth.
  • Radiation: Radiation therapy is used to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors.
  • Targeted Therapy: Targeted therapy uses drugs that attack specific proteins or genes associated with cancer, interfering with their ability to grow and spread.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is an important part of managing metastatic pancreatic cancer. It can provide relief from symptoms and other side effects of treatment, as well as physical, emotional and spiritual support for patients and their families.