KarlGauss is quite right: that isn’t the term I was thinking of. My apologies.
Some basic research on the subject brings up some relevant information:
It appears I was mistaken about the effects of the cancers on the pancreas itself (which is precisely why I should always do research first to check my frequently faulty memory!). Thanks to Karl for the correction.
Cancers originating in the pancreas seem to be highly malignant for some unknown reason. Also, because the organ has such a high redundancy factor, the growth of the cancer can be extensive (entering other organ systems) before it’s ever detected. So I wasn’t wrong about that, at least.
Most treatments are palliative, unfortunately. Roughly 29,000 people are diagnosed each year, and only about 100 survive 12 months, according to the sites I came across. Doctors supposedly recommend radiation and surgery without bringing up the survival rate if they’re not directly asked.