Pancreatic Cancer

When faced with pancreatic cancer, you are not alone. Hoag’s subspecialty-trained, multidisciplinary team of medical oncologists, hepatobiliary surgeons and radiation oncologists are specifically focused on cancers of the GI tract. Through ongoing clinical research, Hoag Family Cancer Institute offers innovative therapies that bring new hope to pancreatic cancer patients.

Why Hoag is Right for You.

Leading Expertise, Innovative Research & Advanced Technology

When It Comes to Beating Pancreatic Cancer, at Hoag, You Are Not Alone.

Every person needs a team of dedicated experts to help them beat pancreatic cancer. Hoag gives you access to subspecialized experts, the most advanced diagnostic and treatment options, and groundbreaking clinical research.

World-Class Hepatobiliary Surgeons – Right Here in OC

Hoag’s team of board-certified, fellowship-trained hepatobiliary surgeons focus specifically on pancreatic cancer. With advanced training in minimally invasive and robotic techniques, they specialize in treating patients with conditions like yours. 

Meet our Surgeons

Medical Oncologists Subspecialty Trained in Your Condition

Our team of subspecialty trained and board-certified medical oncologists and surgeons focus specifically on GI and pancreatic cancers. Our physicians are also leading the charge in early-phase clinical research. They are not only singularly focused on you and your condition; they are determined to help you survive cancer, heal and move on with your life.

Meet our Medical Oncologists

Pioneering Research

Through innovative clinical research, Hoag physicians explore the efficacy of new drugs, therapies, medical devices and clinical and surgical methods – ensuring you have access to the most advanced treatments available. With a range of available trials for pancreatic cancer, Hoag’s clinical trials exceed the typical standard of care offered elsewhere.

Find clinical trials that may be right for you.

Personalized Treatment

Our subspecialized team of medical oncologists and surgeons employ the latest diagnostics and therapies including the ViewRay MRIdian linear accelerator, an adaptive radiotherapy treatment that enables your doctor to make adjustments on the spot – reducing side effects while also maintaining the optimal dose of radiation.

Learn about Treatment Options

Advanced Interventional GI

Accurate diagnosis and advanced, noninvasive treatment options are key to treating pancreatic cancer. Hoag’s advanced imaging techniques, precise endoscopic diagnosis and staging, as well as noninvasive endoscopic treatment methods mean you receive the very best care.

Pancreatic Cyst Surveillance Program

Not all pancreatic cysts become cancerous. For the ones that do, Hoag has developed a Pancreatic Cyst Surveillance Program to monitor cysts for changes that may be concerning. Our multidisciplinary team uses advanced imaging and molecular testing to differentiate between harmless, pre-malignant and cancerous cysts – empowering you to take action early.

Learn more about Hoag’s Pancreatic Cyst Surveillance Program

Hoag Family Cancer Institute Locations:

All-Inclusive Cancer Care Nearby in Orange County

Patty & George Hoag Cancer Center
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian 1 Hoag Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92663

Hoag Cancer Center Irvine
Hoag Health Center Irvine-Sand Canyon 16105 Sand Canyon Ave. Irvine, CA 92618

Marilyn Herbert Hausman Advanced Technology Pavilion
Lower campus of Hoag Hospital Newport Beach 1 Hoag Dr. Newport Beach, CA 92663

Hoag Medical Oncology – Huntington Beach
19582 Beach Boulevard, Suite 219, Huntington Beach, CA, USA






World-Class Cancer Treatment. Right here in OC.

Hoag is the top choice for cancer care in Orange County, with cancer survival rates that continually exceed national averages. Our dedicated, world-class teams are wholly focused on helping you survive cancer, heal and move forward with your life.

Pancreatic cancer begins in the pancreas, a small, tapered organ about six inches long that sits behind the stomach. When healthy, the pancreas has two different types of tissue with two different functions. Exocrine tissue, which makes up the majority of the pancreas, creates enzymes that help the body digest food. Endocrine tissue in the pancreas creates and releases hormones called insulin and glucagon that help the body maintain healthy levels of blood sugar.

When changes in the pancreas cause cells to mutate and replicate out of control, this can cause pancreatic cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, most pancreatic cancers begin in exocrine tissue, with around 95 percent classified as adenocarcinomas. Also known as ductal carcinoma, this form of the disease usually originates in the ducts that carry enzymes inside the pancreas.

Rarer forms of pancreatic cancer include:

  • Colloid Carcinoma
  • Adenosquamous Carcinoma
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Pancreatic cancer is particularly dangerous in that it often presents few or no symptoms until after it has spread to other tissues inside the body. Some symptoms of pancreatic cancer can include:

  • Itchy skin or rash
  • Pain that extends from the abdomen to the back
  • Loss of appetite
  • Blood clots
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Unexplained or unintentional weight loss
  • Bowel obstruction, due to a tumor pressing against the intestine and blocking the flow of waste through the body
  • Jaundice, which is a yellowing of the eyes and skin
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Light-colored stools
  • Sudden onset of diabetes, or recent difficulty controlling diabetes with medication and diet

While the vast majority of shoulder pain is related to strains, muscle pulls, arthritis or the wear-and-tear of aging, there are rare cases where pain in the shoulder or under the shoulder blade was found to be a symptom of pancreatic cancer, including this case from the American Journal of Gastroenterology and this case from 2013. In these cases, pancreatic cancer shoulder pain is due to tumors spreading from the pancreas, then pressing on nearby nerves as they grow. These instances are rare, and most shoulder pain isn’t related to pancreatic cancer. However, if you experience unexplained pain in your shoulder that is hindering your ability to function, see your doctor.

Though the root cause of pancreatic cancer is still unknown, there are a number of factors that are believed to increase your risk of developing pancreatic cancer. These include:

  • A history of pancreatitis, which is a painful inflammation of the pancreas.
  • Diabetes, particularly Type 2
  • A family history of pancreatic cancer
  • Being older, as pancreatic cancer is usually diagnosed in people over age 65.
  • A family history of certain genetic conditions, including Lynch syndrome, Familial Atypical Mole-Malignant Melanoma Syndrome (FAMMMS), mutation of the BRCA2 gene, Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome and Familial Melanoma and Hereditary colon cancer.
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Smoking
  • Eating a high fat diet
  • Obesity

Ways to reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer may include:

  • Avoid being overweight by eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise to avoid being overweight. Here at Hoag, we offer help with weight management to help reduce this risk and others that come with being overweight.
  • Don’t smoke
  • Use alcohol in moderation
  • Avoid Type 2 diabetes by cutting sugar and eating a healthy diet