Types of pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer can be described according to where in the pancreas it occurs and by the type of cell that the cancer started from.
Cancer can occur in any part of the pancreas, but up to 8 out of 10 (80%), start in the head of the pancreas.
There are several different types of pancreatic cancer. The most common type is ductal adenocarcinoma, which starts from cells in the lining of the pancreatic ducts.
More than 9 out of 10 pancreatic cancers (95%) are ductal adenocarcinomas.
Other, less common, types of pancreatic cancer include:
- cystic tumours – these are fluid-filled sacs in the pancreas, some of which are cancerous
- acinar cell carcinomas – these start from the cells that make pancreatic juice
- neuroendocrine tumours – these begin in the endocrine cells where insulin and other hormones are made
- lymphoma – this is a cancer of the lymphatic tissue in the pancreas.
The treatments for cancerous cystic tumours and acinar cell carcinomas are similar to those described in our treatment section. But the tests and treatments for neuroendocrine tumours and lymphoma of the pancreas may be very different.
We have more information available about lymphoma and neuroendocrine tumours.