Pancreatic Cancer: Medical Illustrations

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 12/2016

ON THIS PAGE: You will find a basic drawing of the main body parts affected by this disease. To see other pages, use the menu.

The pancreas is made up of the head, body, and tail. Pancreatic cancers most commonly arise from the head of the pancreas.

The pancreas is a pear-shaped gland located in the curve of the duodenum, which is the first section of the small intestine where it connects to the stomach. The pancreas is located behind and under the stomach, in the right side of the abdomen. The sections of the pancreas are the head, the neck, the body, and the narrow tail. Pancreatic ducts run through the pancreas and connect to the duodenum via the duodenal minor papilla. The large aorta and the portal vein run behind the pancreas. The celiac trunk branches off the aorta to bring blood to the pancreas, to the spleen, located on the left side of the abdomen, and to other parts of the body. The common bile duct also connects to the pancreas and runs through the pancreas to connect to the duodenum via the duodenal major papilla. Copyright 2004 American Society of Clinical Oncology. Robert Morreale/Visual Explanations, LLC.

The next section in this guide is Risk Factors. It explains what factors may increase the chance of developing this disease. Or, use the menu to choose another section to continue reading this guide.