The pancreas is located in the abdomen, tucked behind the stomach. It is shaped somewhat like a tadpole--fat at one end and slender at the other--and is around 25 cm in length. The pancreas has dual roles. It functions as a part of the digestive system and of the hormonal (endocrine) system. It produces digestive enzymes that break down protein, fats and carbohydrates. The pancreas also produces the hormone insulin, which helps to control the amount of sugar in the blood. Diseases of the pancreas include diabetes, acute and chronic pancreatitis, and pancreatic cancer.

Aging

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