Supporting the

Neuroendocrine Cancer Community

Raising Awareness for Pancreatic Cancers

Nov 29, 2023

Raising awareness of Cancers of the Pancreas – choosing wording advisedly – because not all cancers are the same. 

Awareness-raising seeks to inform and educate people – bringing an issue or subject to the awareness – of a specific group of people or the wider public. 
 
Importantly, it can bring people together, sharing experiences, building knowledge and understanding – connecting a community with its members and the wider population.
Raising awareness KNOWLEDGE, and UNDERSTANDING is KEY
There are several cancers that can start in the pancreas – all can be difficult to diagnose – and accurate diagnosis is absolutely essential: 
 
  • because the type of cancer can affect the symptoms you might experience
  • because the type of cancer may require different tests to confirm an accurate diagnosis
  • because the type of cancer determines what treatment may work for you
  • because the type of cancer can affect the treatment response
  • because the type of cancer can affect your quality of life
  • because the type of cancer can affect your life expectancy

The most common cancer of the pancreas is:
 
Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) (often called pancreatic cancer) – accounts for ~95% of ALL cancers of the pancreas – it is predominantly high-grade, aggressive cancer of the exocrine cells of the pancreas. Less than 1 in 5 will be suitable for potentially curative surgery at diagnosis.
 
Overall 5-year survival for PDAC = 7%
 
Further information is available at https://www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/ 
 
Other cancers of the pancreas include:
 
Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Cancers (aka Neuroendocrine Neoplasms  NENs) — account for ~3% of ALL cancers of the pancreas.
 
  • ~ 70% are Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumours (pNETs) – low-moderately active cancer of the endocrine pancreas – specifically the neuroendocrine cells of the pancreas. Overall 5 yr survival for pNET is above 65%
  • ~ 30% are Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Carcinomas (pNECs) –  high-grade, aggressive cancer of the endocrine pancreas – specifically the neuroendocrine cells of the pancreas. Overall 5 yr survival for pNEC is around 20%
 
Further information on all Neuroendocrine Cancers, including pNETs and pNECs, is available at https://www.neuroendocrinecancer.org.uk/ 
 
Acinar cell carcinoma – accounts for ~1% of ALL cancers of the pancreas. They develop in acinar cells, present in the end of ductal structures of the exocrine pancreas. Overall 5 yr survival for acinar cell carcinoma is ~ 17.5%
 
Solid pseudopapillary neoplasm – (also known as Frantz’s tumour) is rare (less than 1%) and may develop in the body/tail of the pancreas – when they occur – it is mostly in young women or children. Overall 5yr survival is above 95%
 
Pancreatoblastoma – is very rare; the incidence is less than 1 per 1,000,000 in Europe, primarily affecting children. Rarer still in adults (less than 40 cases reported worldwide – between 1957 and 2015). Overall 5-year survival (in children) is up to 60%.
 
SYMPTOMS to be aware of: