Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer death in the U.S., according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. This cancer occurs when a cell in the pancreas is damaged, causing the malignant (cancer) cell to start growing out of control.
The risk of developing pancreatic cancer increases with age, with about two-thirds of patients being diagnosed at age 65 or older. Slightly more men than women are affected by pancreatic cancer. Cigarette smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for pancreatic cancer.
Like most cancers, early detection of pancreatic cancer is critical. Survival rates are impacted by tumor size and whether the cancer has spread to other organs.