Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Pancreatic cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells form in the tissues of the pancreas. The pancreas is a gland located behind the stomach and in front of the spine. The pancreas produces digestive juices and hormones that regulate blood sugar. Cells called exocrine pancreas cells produce the digestive juices, while cells called endocrine pancreas cells produce the hormones. The majority of pancreatic cancers start in the exocrine cells.

People who think they may be at risk for pancreatic cancer should discuss this concern with their doctor. The doctor may suggest ways to reduce the risk and can plan an appropriate schedule for checkups.

Living with a serious disease such as pancreatic cancer is not easy. Some people find they need help coping with the emotional and practical aspects of their disease. Support groups can help. In these groups, patients or their family members get together to share what they have learned about coping with their disease and the effects of treatment.

People living with pancreatic cancer may worry about the future. They may worry about caring for themselves or their families, keeping their jobs, or continuing daily activities. Concerns about treatments and managing side effects, hospital stays, and medical bills are also common. Doctors, nurses, and other members of the health care team can answer questions about treatment, diet, working, or other matters. Meeting with a social worker, counselor, or member of the clergy can be helpful to those who want to talk about their feelings or discuss their concerns. Often, a social worker can suggest resources for financial aid, transportation, home care, emotional support, or other services.

General Questions

Overcoming. It’s what we do. And your donation helps us do it. When you give to GIVEHOPE, you’re supporting Pancreatic Cancer Research, education, prevention & awareness programs with preference given to the Greater Cincinnati area.

How the money is used:

  • This past March, GIVEHOPE donated $10,000 to fund a University of Cincinnati study designed to examine the protocol for operable pancreatic cancer patients to have chemotherapy and targeted radiation before surgery. The hope is that this research can yield discoveries that could someday lead to raising the survival rate of operable pancreatic cancer patients from six percent to over fifty percent.
  • In its first year, GIVEHOPE, in conjunction with BSI Engineering, awarded $21,000 to the University of Cincinnati Pancreatic Disease Center to fund an international study that aimed to shed light on how the protein known as alternatively-spliced Tissue Factor (asTF) contributes to the growth of several forms of aggressive cancer. After the completion of the initial study, one of the head researchers, Dr. Bogdanov, Ph.D. (University of Cincinnati), received a $300,000 grant from the National Institute of Health to continue his research.
  • In November 2013, GIVEHOPE awarded Dr. Bogdanov a grant of $35,000 to further explore his Tissue Factor research, and in May 2015, Bogdanov was awarded an additional $1.4 million by the National Cancer Institute to extend his research for five more years.
  • Additionally, in November 2013, GIVEHOPE contributed $30,000 and, along with BSI Engineering and the University of Cincinnati, co-hosted the ninth annual UC Pancreatic Cancer Symposium, which serves to educate doctors and nurses about the latest developments in pancreatic cancer symptoms, treatment options and general research.

You can make a difference in the fight against pancreatic cancer by volunteering your time, participating in an event, or donating to the cause. Find out about all the ways you can get involved today.

Pancreatic cancer is hard to find early. The pancreas is deep inside the body, so early tumors can’t be seen or felt by health care providers during routine physical exams. Patients usually have no symptoms until the cancer has already spread to other organs.

Screening tests or exams are used to look for a disease in people who have no symptoms (and who have not had that disease before). At this time, no major professional groups recommend routine screening for pancreatic cancer in people who are at average risk. This is because no screening test has been shown to lower the risk of dying from this cancer.

Sometimes when a person has pancreatic cancer, the levels of certain proteins in the blood go up. These proteins, called tumor markers, can be detected with blood tests. The tumor markers CA 19-9 and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) are the ones most closely tied to pancreatic cancer. But these proteins don’t always go up when a person has pancreatic cancer, and even if they do, the cancer is often already advanced by the time this happens. Sometimes levels of these tumor markers can go up even when a person doesn’t have pancreatic cancer. For these reasons, blood tests aren’t used to screen for pancreatic cancer, although a doctor might still order these tests if a person has symptoms that might suggest pancreatic cancer. These tests are more often used in people already diagnosed with pancreatic cancer to help tell if treatment is working or if the cancer is progressing.