Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is among the most aggressive of all cancers because it starts forming metastases early. The cancer itself, however, is usually only discovered late. This leads to a high patient mortality rate.
Pancreatic cancer is classified according to which part of the pancreas is affected: the part that makes digestive substances (exocrine) or the part that makes insulin and other hormones (endocrine).
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Although there are several different types of exocrine pancreatic cancer, 95% of cases are due to pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Other less common exocrine pancreatic cancers include:
The exocrine pancreas makes up 95% of the pancreas, so it's not surprising that most pancreatic cancers arise here.
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Pancreatic cancer is the most aggressive of the major cancers, and the least funded. It is nearly always diagnosed too late with 80% of pancreatic cancer patients having a terminal disease. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive tumour types because it starts forming metastases early. The cancer itself, however, is usually only discovered late. This leads to a high patient mortality rate.
Stage 4 pancreatic cancer is incurable. While the median survival rate is around 3–6 months after diagnosis, some people live longer than this. Many individual factors, including age and general health, play a role in a person's outlook. Treatments can help people improve their quality of life and life expectancy. This cancer is particularly deadly, with only 9 percent of patients, overall, surviving five years after their diagnosis, according to the American Cancer Society. For patients with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, the five-year survival rate is only 3 percent.
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Stage 4 pancreatic cancer has spread beyond the original site to distant sites, like other organs, the brain, or bones.
Pancreatic cancer is often diagnosed at this late stage because it rarely causes symptoms until it has spread to other sites. Symptoms you might experience at this advanced stage include:
Stage 4 pancreatic cancer cannot be cured, but treatments can relieve symptoms and prevent complications from the cancer. These treatments can include:
The five-year survival rate for stage 4 pancreatic cancer is 3 percent.
Below are some of the most common end-of-life signs for pancreatic cancer. All or just some of the below signs may be present as the end-of-life approaches. If your loved one is experiencing some of the following symptoms, we recommend you contact a healthcare professional:
When most patients die of pancreatic cancer, they die of liver failure from their liver being taken over by tumor.
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