With an overall mortality approaching 100%, pancreatic cancer remains a significant challenge for both surgeons and their patients. Because of its location deep within the abdomen, diagnosis of this cancer is still much more difficult than for other gastrointestinal tumors. At the time of detection, many of these tumors are already inoperable, suitable for only palliative therapy. There is a final problem: unlike tumors arising in other parts of the digestive tract, there are no widely accepted screening tools such as endoscopy for tumors of the esophagus, stomach, and colon. Even though these tumors are rare, ranking 13th in a worldwide list of cancer incidence, for the reasons cited above, pancreas cancer ranks 4th as a cause of death in the USA, and 8th as a global cause of cancer death . In this chapter we will review the epidemiology of pancreatic cancer, emphasizing the occurrence of this tumor in various countries, time-trends, risk factors, inherited disorders leading to pancreatic cancer, screening, and preventive aspects.
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