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10

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

:

Pancreatic Cancer, Version 1.2017

1

About pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer

Unlike normal cells, cancer cells can spread and

form tumors in other parts of the body. The spread of

cancer makes it dangerous. Cancer cells can invade

normal tissue and cause organs to stop working.

Cancer that has spread is called a metastasis.

†

†

Cancer that has spread to a nearby body part is

called a local metastasis.

†

†

Cancer that has spread to a body part far from

the primary tumor is called a distant metastasis.

Cancer can spread to distant sites through

blood. Two major blood vessels lie behind the

pancreas. The superior mesenteric artery supplies

the intestines with blood. The superior mesenteric

vein returns blood to the heart.

Cancer can also spread through the

lymphatic system. The lymphatic system has a clear

fluid called lymph. Lymph gives cells water and

food. It also has white blood cells that fight germs.

Lymph nodes filter lymph and remove the germs.

Lymph travels throughout the body in vessels like

blood does. Lymph vessels and nodes are found

everywhere in the body.

See Figure 3.

Figure 3

Lymph nodes and vessels

Lymph vessels and nodes are

found everywhere in the body.

Illustration Copyright © 2017 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved.

www.nucleusinc.com