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What are the different types of Pancreatic Cancers ?

Pancreatic cancer is caused due to the abnormal growth of the unhealthy cells which layers the tissues of the pancreas and form lumps known as tumors. Pancreas consists of two glands: the endocrine gland which is responsible for the production of hormones specifically insulin, and the second one is the exocrine gland which is responsible for the secretion of digestive juices. If any of the glands function improperly, severe problems may persist. The pancreas can be categorized into four parts namely: head (which is the portion lying adjacent to the small intestine and it is the rightmost), uncinate process (which is the head extension), body (which is the middle portion) and finally the tail (which is the portion lying adjacent to the spleen and is the leftmost). The cancers related to the pancreas may occur in any of these parts of the pancreas. This article will deal with the types of cancers which the pancreas can have.
There are mainly two categories of the pancreas cancer. Both the glands present in the pancreas may produce cancerous cells. The cancer which commonly affects the endocrine glands is known as the pancreatic neuroendocrine carcinoma or the islet cell tumor. The cancer which commonly affects the exocrine glands is known as the adenocarcinoma. Most of the people suffer from the cancer related to the exocrine gland i.e. the adenocarcinoma. There are other cancers related to both the glands but they are less common.

The exocrine pancreas cancer: Adenocarcinoma:
Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of pancreas cancer. This tumor grows from the cells which are layered on the duct of the pancreas. This cancer is considered to be one of the most aggressive cancers. Adenocarcinoma can only be treated by a surgery as it is very difficult to detect the presence of this cancer without inspection of the pancreas. And by the time the diagnosis is done, the cancer has already spread to most parts of the body. This tumor mostly accumulates in the empty spaces found in the exocrine pancreas.
Other exocrine pancreas cancers which are not so common but may affect the pancreas are acinar cell carcinoma, Adenosquamous carcinoma, Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasm (IPMN), Giant Cell Tumor, Mucinous Cystadenocar carcinoma, Solid and Pseudopapillary tumors, Pancreatoblastoma, and Serous Cystadenocarcinoma. All these cancers can be categorized under Cystic tumors, acinar cells cancer and Sarcomas of the pancreas.

The endocrine pancreas cancer:
Cancers related to the endocrine pancreas are less common as compared to the exocrine pancreas cancer. The most common type of cancer suffered by the exocrine glands is the islet cell tumor or the neuroendocrine tumors. Many hormones which make the functions of the body suffer are produced by the exocrine pancreas tumors. The name of these hormones is derived from the hormones which are produced from them. These tumors are: Insulinomas which produces insulin, VIPomas (Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide Releasing Tumor or Verner-Morrison Syndrome) which produces the VIP hormone, Gastrinomas (Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome) which produces gastrin, Glucagonomas which produces glucagon, and Somatostatinomas which produces somatostatin. Another rare cancer related to the endocrine glands of the pancreas is Wermer Syndrome also known as Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type-1 (MEN1).
Both the cancer i.e. Endocrine pancreas cancer and exocrine pancreas cancer are dangerous for a person. If not taken care of and not treated properly they may lead to increased chances of death. No doubt, if proper surgery is done to remove the tumors, the pancreas cancer can be treated and the person may lead a healthy life ahead.

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