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Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2004 May;50(2):147-55.

Cancer of pancreas.

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  • 1START Project and European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy.


Cancer of the pancreas is the tenth most frequent cancer in Europe, accounting for some 3% of cancer in both sex. Smoking has been clearly established as a major risk factor affecting the carcinogenesis of pancreatic carcinoma. Diet has also been associated with pancreatic cancer, although no conclusive data are yet available. Different genetic alterations have been observed in pancreatic neoplasms. Typical symptoms of pancreatic cancer are: jaundice, abdominal pain and weight loss. The prognosis of pancreatic carcinoma depends mainly on radical surgery and the presence of negative resection margins, as well as on the biological tumour stage, which also influences the treatment strategy. The treatment of pancreatic cancer is undertaken with two aims. Radical surgery is indicated for patients with early stage of disease, mainly stage I and partially II. In all other cases, the aim of treatment is the palliation of different very distressing symptoms related to this neoplasm.

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