Researchers Classify Pancreatic Cancer as Four Separate Diseases

Posted on February 26, 2016 by Disability Help Group

A team of researchers, headed by Professor Sean Grimmond of the University of Melbourne in Australia, have classified pancreatic cancer into four separate subtypes:

  • Aberrantly differentiated endocrine eXocrine (ADEX)
  • Immunogenic
  • Pancreatic progenitor
  • Squamous

By mapping the genetic structure of pancreatic tumors, the team was able to discern the distinct subtypes. When a doctor is able to identify a tumor’s subtype, it may allow doctors to provide a treatment tailored to attacking that specific subtype.

The classification of tumor subtypes can also lead to better estimates of mortality rates and hereditary risk through genetics. Perhaps the most important result from this study, published in Nature, is that some of the subtypes correlate with genetically-similar conditions such as colon cancer and leukemia. Existing treatments for those conditions may provide new options for treatment of the similar pancreatic tumor subtypes.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) currently classifies disability from pancreatic cancer as:

Carcinoma (except islet cell carcinoma).


Islet cell carcinoma that is physiologically active and is either inoperable or unresectable.

With the new subtype classification, the definition of disability from pancreatic cancer may change in time to reflect the different subtypes and their severity.

If You Have Pancreatic Cancer, You May Be Eligible for Disability Benefits

There have been few advances in treatments for pancreatic cancers over the past 20 years, and mortality rates are still high. An estimated 30,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year and the five-year survival rate is less than five percent due to typically late diagnoses.

Contact the Disability Help Group to schedule a consultation with our disability advocates. Call us at 1-(800)-800-3332 to see how we can help you receive the disability benefits you deserve today.