Overview Pancreatic cancer is more common in smokers, in people with poor diets, and in those who have had diabetes for many years. Understanding Your Diagnosis To make the diagnosis, your doctor will take your medical and family history, and may check for jaundice and for abnormal fluid buildup in your abdomen. Deciding on Treatment Treatment for pancreatic cancer is either local or systemic. Surgery and radiation are local treatments that remove, destroy, or control the cancer cells in one area. Systemic treatments like chemotherapy destroy or control cancer cells throughout the whole body. Managing Side Effects Side effects of cancer treatment affect each person differently. Some people have none, while others may have many. Your health care team will work to ease any side effects you experience.