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How Fast Does Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer Spread?

How Fast Does Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer Spread?

June 29, 2022
How Fast Does Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer Spread?

Pancreatic cancer spreads slowly but it is so difficult to detect in its early stages until it grows into metastatic pancreatic cancer. This is because it often doesn’t cause symptoms until after it has spread to other organs. Pancreatic cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the pancreas. Smoking and health history can affect the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Symptoms of Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

How Does Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer Form?

Pancreatic cancer commonly begins in the cells that line the pancreatic ducts. Less frequently, cancer can form in the hormone-producing cells or the neuroendocrine cells of the pancreas. Pancreatic cancer occurs when the DNA of the cells in your pancreas changes. Mutations cause cells to grow uncontrollably and stay alive even after normal cells would die. When not treated, pancreatic cancer cells can spread to other organs and blood vessels within the body as well as to distant parts.

How Fast Does Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer Spread?

The timing of pancreatic cancer progression is estimated at an average of 11.7 years before the first cancer cell develops within a high-grade pancreatic lesion, then an average of 6.8 years as cancer grows and at least one cell has the potential to spread. With metastatic disease, the average survival is just over six months.

As cancer grows and spreads, pain often develops in the upper abdomen and sometimes spreads to the back. The pain may worsen after you eat or lie down. Some pancreatic cancer patients reach remission. Many people can achieve stability or reduce their tumors through treatments such as clinical trials, surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of these approaches.

Treatment for Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

Treatment for pancreatic cancer depends on the stage and location of cancer as well as on your overall health and personal preferences. For metastatic pancreatic cancer treatment includes surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of these. Surgery for tumors in the pancreatic head is recommended if your cancer is located in the head of the pancreas.

Chemotherapy uses drugs to help kill cancer cells. Injections or oral administration may be used to deliver these drugs. You may receive one chemotherapy drug or a combination of them. Chemotherapy can also be combined with radiation therapy. In general, chemotherapy is used to treat cancer that hasn’t spread beyond the pancreas to other organs.

Erlotinib for Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer Medication

Erlotinib is also used in combination with other drugs to treat patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer that cannot be treated with surgery. It works by blocking the protein that signals the abnormal cells from growing and multiplying. This slows down or stops the growth of cancer cells.

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