Should I Be Screened for Pancreatic Cancer?

While screening for pancreatic cancer is not recommended for people at average risk of the disease, screening is recommended for those who carry an inherited genetic mutation associated with pancreatic cancer or have a family history of the disease. (Mutations are abnormal stretches of DNA that alter how cells grow and divide.) People with an … Read more

Is Itching a Sign of Pancreatic Cancer?

Medically reviewed by Brian M. Wolpin, MD, MPH Itching that occurs periodically is not a sign of pancreatic cancer. In fact, most people diagnosed with the disease will not experience this symptom. A potential symptom of pancreatic cancer is progressive itching that intensifies over a few weeks and is accompanied by jaundice (yellowing of the … Read more

Why is Pancreatic Cancer So Difficult to Treat?

Pancreatic cancer is seldom detected early enough for curative treatment to be performed – and even if it were, it would still be very difficult to vanquish. The pancreas, a narrow, six-inch-long gland that makes digestive juices and hormones such as insulin, is tucked away deep inside the body behind the stomach, small intestine, liver, … Read more

Pancreatic Cancer: What are the Signs and Symptoms?

Pancreatic tumors are sometimes discovered during imaging studies — such as an MRI or CT scan — performed to investigate the onset of new symptoms or during evaluation for another condition. They may also be identified during screening for families with a known history of pancreatic cancer. The pancreas produces fluids that help digest (break … Read more

Can Immunotherapy Help Patients with Pancreatic Cancer?

Patients with pancreatic cancer often ask Dana-Farber’s Brian Wolpin, MD, MPH, about immunotherapy, the rising star of cancer treatment that’s making impressive gains against many types of malignancies. Immunotherapy drugs, which mobilize the patient’s immune defenses to recognize and attack tumor cells, have worked against lethal cancers such as melanoma and some lung cancers – … Read more

Whipple Procedure: What It Is, Side Effects, Follow-Up

What is the Whipple surgery/procedure? Many pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed after the cancer has spread beyond the pancreas, making surgery a risky treatment option. But for those patients whose cancer is localized, surgery may be used to remove the tumor and prevent further spread. When the tumor is confined to the head or neck of the pancreas, … Read more

A Teen’s Journey: Developing a Diagnostic Test for Pancreatic Cancer

This post was originally written and published on Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital’s science and clinical innovation blog.  At age 13, Jack Andraka lost a family friend to pancreatic cancer. At age 15, he developed a diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer that early findings suggest is highly accurate. In this session from Boston Children’s Hospital’s Global Pediatric Innovation Summit … Read more