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How Pancreatic Cancer Spreads

Once cancer moves away from your pancreas, it often goes into the nearby bile ducts and lymph nodes in your abdomen (belly). In some cases, it spreads to other nearby areas. Pancreatic cancer may also spread to distant parts of your body, such as your liver or lungs.

When pancreatic cancer spreads to another part of your body, it’s not considered a new cancer. For instance, if pancreatic cancer spreads to your liver, it’s not considered liver cancer. It’s called metastatic pancreatic cancer.

There are also several kinds of cancer—such as liver cancer—that can spread to your pancreas. When this happens, the cancer is not called pancreatic cancer. Cancer is usually named for the site of the original tumor. For example, if liver cancer spreads to your pancreas, it is called metastatic liver cancer, not pancreatic cancer. The cancer is treated the same as liver cancer, not like pancreatic cancer.

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