Autoimmune pancreatitis is an inflammatory disease that produces pancreatic masses and ductal problems which can be mistaken for pancreatic cancer in x-ray and CAT scans. The initial symptoms (jaundice and nausea etc) of the disease are also similar.
It was first described in 1961, and although it's known that the disease is linked to immune system imbalances, the cause or causes are currently unknown.
It's thought that many instances of the disease are mis-diagnosed and lead to unnecessary radical surgery. It responds well to treatment with cortisol-like drugs. There are thought to be several thousand new cases worldwide each year.
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