Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma

It is Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma.

Excuse Me? What did you just say?

Hello?! Do I look like a doctor? 'Splain, Lucy, 'splain!

Yep, that was pretty much my reaction. The doctor was so earnest, so serious, so over our heads.

Do you think, doctors are trying to impress us with their knowledge of big words, or maybe they're just trying to hide behind the big words? Because to come right out and say you have cancer is way too hard. Hard for them, hard for us.

And I appreciate that. Can't be easy to be the doctor who has to give you the news. Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma. Somehow, sounds less threatenting than Pancreatic Cancer. We all know how that went for Patrick Swayze. He had pancreatic cancer and it was not good. So maybe an adenocarcinoma will be better...

Actually, no.

Just as bad.

So, here's the straight scoop on the Big, Fancy Word:

Adenocarcinoma of the Pancreas is cancer. It is the most common kind of pancreatic cancer, affecting almost 95% of pancreatic cancer patients. And it is malignant and deadly.

This explanation gets a little deep, but stay with it, makes sense in the end. Adenocarcinoma is a cancer of an epithelium that originates in glandular tissue. Epithelium is a type of tissue in our bodies that lines the cavities and surfaces of our organs and also forms many glands. So you can have adenocarcinomas of the colon, the lung, the ovary, etc., basically any tissue that lines the body. Mom just happens to have adenocarcinoma of the pancreas.

And yes, it is cancer. And yes, it is bad.

But we'll give you points for using big words, and along the way you just might impress your family and friends. So, don't be afraid of doctor-speak. Knowledge is power on this journey, and the better we understand our diagnosis, the sooner we can move on to treatment. 

Return to What is Pancreatic Cancer 
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