Neuroendocrine Cancer of the Pancreas

Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors are a rare type of cancer that starts as a growth of cells in the pancreas. Another term for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor is islet cell cancer.

Some pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor cells keep making hormones known as functional tumors. Functional tumors create too much of the given hormone. Most pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors do not produce an excess amount of hormones. Tumors that don't produce extra hormones are called nonfunctional tumors.

Pancreatic NETs are a less common type of pancreatic cancer. They make up less than 2% of pancreatic cancers, but tend to have a better outlook (prognosis) than the more common type.

Image from Pancreatic Cancer UK


Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors sometimes don't cause symptoms. When they do, symptoms can include:

  • Heartburn.

  • Weakness.

  • Fatigue.

  • Muscle cramps.

  • Indigestion.

  • Diarrhea.

  • Weight loss.

  • Skin rash.

  • Constipation.

  • Pain in the abdomen or back.

  • Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes.

  • Dizziness.

  • Blurred vision.

  • Headaches.

  • Increased thirst and hunger.

Make an appointment with a health care professional if you have any symptoms that worry you.


Your doctor will look at the type of pancreatic cancer you have and the stage of the cancer to decide on the best cancer treatment options available to you. These will also be based on other factors such as your general health, any pre exisiting medical conditions and age.

Whatever your options, having treatment is your decision. It can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to decide anything straight away and it is always a good idea to have someone attend any appointments with you.

Additional Information

These links provide additonal information on neuroendocrine cancer of the pancreas

Neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) of the pancreas | Cancer Research UK

Pancreatic Cancer UK - Types of pancreatic cancer information leaflet

Neuroendocrine Cancer UK have more detailed information about the different neuroendocrine cancers, including pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer.