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frenee - Thanks for your question. Are you asking for yourself, or are you asking for a friend?
First some basics. The pancreas is a long, flattened pear-shaped organ in the abdomen that makes digestive enzymes and hormones including insulin.
Cancer occurs when cells in the body divide without control or order. If cells keep dividing uncontrollably, a mass of tissue forms. This is called a growth or tumor. The term cancer refers to malignant tumors. They can invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.
After diagnosis most cancers are staged which is the way clinicians describe the spread of the cancer cells. In Stage II pancreatic cancer the cancer may have spread to nearby tissue and organs, and may have spread to lymph nodes near the pancreas. Stage II is divided into stage IIA and stage IIB, based on where the cancer has spread.
* Stage IIA: Cancer has spread to nearby tissue and organs but has not spread to nearby lymph nodes.
* Stage IIB: Cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes and may have spread to nearby tissue and organs.
There are several treatment options at this stage, you can learn more here: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/pancreatic/Patient/page5
Pancreatic cancer is a tough diagnosis. Please let me know if this helps you and if you have more questions. As a cancer survivor I know there are many resources available to help us and am happy to share.
Take care,August 26, 2010 - 6:03pm