The management of patients with pancreatic carcinoma poses many problems. The diagnosis is usually made late, generally because the patients present late, but it is not unusual to find patients who have had many negative investigations for vague upper abdominal symptoms only to be diagnosed as having pancreatic carcinoma many months later. Staging the disease is equally difficult and often inaccurate. The results of treatment are to date discouraging even in those patients diagnosed early. But the outlook is not totally dismal; in recent years the results for surgical resection of pancreatic lesions have improved; adjuvant treatment may finally be having an effect, although small, on this relentless disease. The most notable inroad made in the management of pancreatic cancer in the last 10 years is the improvement in palliation due to the use of the endoprosthesis. In spite of the poor results we must continue to search actively for more accurate methods of diagnosis and better methods of treatment.