Symptoms and Signs of Pancreatic Cancer in Children

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 9/17/2021

Doctor's Notes on Pancreatic Cancer in Children

Pancreatic cancer occurs when the cells of the pancreas start to grow abnormally. Many different kinds of tumors can form in the pancreas. 

In children, some pancreatic tumors do not secrete hormones and there are no symptoms of disease. Pancreatic tumors that do secrete hormones may cause symptoms that depend on the type of hormone being made.

If the tumor secretes insulin, symptoms include:

If the tumor secretes gastrin, symptoms may include:

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer caused by tumors that make other types of hormones include:

If cancer is in the head of the pancreas, there may be blockage of the bile duct or blood flow to the stomach, and symptoms may include:

  • yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice) or
  • blood in the stool or vomit.

What Is the Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer in Children?

Most children with pancreatic cancer will undergo surgical treatment to remove the cancer, if possible.

Other types of therapy that may be used in addition to surgery include:

  • Chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells
  • Targeted therapies, which are medications developed to target specific cancer cell types
  • Clinical trials that are conducted to evaluate possible new treatments or new combinations of treatments

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.