The pancreas is a small, fish-shaped organ located behind the stomach. The pancreas has two different kinds of glands. The exocrine glands produce fluid that helps break down the foods you eat so the body can use them. The endocrine cells make hormones like insulin that help balance the amount of sugar in the blood.
Both the exocrine and endocrine cells of the pancreas can form cancers. But cancers formed by the exocrine cells are much more common. When someone says that they have pancreatic cancer, they usually mean an exocrine pancreatic cancer.
It is important to know whether a tumor is from the exocrine or endocrine part of the pancreas. These tumors have their own signs and symptoms, are found using different tests, are treated in different ways, and have different outlooks.