There are a few kinds of cancer that can involve the pancreas. Some of them, like the one Steve Jobs of Apple had, are quite survivable. However, most of what is known as "pancreatic cancer" is a horribly aggressive carcinoma that only a small percentage of patients can expect to survive. The five-year survival rate is less than 5%. There are instances of survival, most in instances when the tumor is found early, usually in cases when the patient was undergoing surgery for another condition, such as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
At the end of the day, there are some survivors of every cancer. Your teacher might well be one.