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Morning Rounds: Pancreatic cancer explained

Posted at 1:40 PM, May 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-08 14:19:46-04

MISSOULA – We answer your medical questions every Wednesday on Montana This Morning during Morning Rounds.

If you have a question that you’d like us to answer, just send us an email at

Dr. Kasey Harbine Harbine with St. Patrick Hospital discusses pancreatic cancer during the May 8, 2019 edition of Morning Rounds.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has much more information about pancreatic cancer on its website, including the following:

Pancreatic cancer is a cancer that forms in the pancreas, the thin, pear-shaped gland behind the stomach. The pancreas plays an important role in the digestive system by producing fluids to help break down food and hormones to control blood sugar levels.

Pancreatic cancer is among the ten most common cancers for both men and women. It is the cause of 7% of all cancer deaths. It ranks fourth as a cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States each year. Incidence rates of pancreatic cancer have been rising by almost 1.2% each year over the last 10 years. Early stage pancreatic cancer usually has no symptoms and spreads quickly throughout the body, making it difficult to detect and harder to treat when it is found in its later stages.

The causes of pancreatic cancer are not well understood. According to the American Cancer Society heavy exposure at work to certain pesticides, dyes, and chemicals may increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Research is needed to better understand the relationship between the environment and pancreatic cancer, which may help determineother potential risk factors for this disease.