Pancreatic cancer, also known as pancreatic carcinoma, is cancer of the long, flattened, pear-shaped organ in the abdomen called the pancreas.
Diagnosing Pancreatic Cancer
Tests used to help diagnose pancreatic cancer may include a CT scan of the abdomen, MRI of the abdomen, Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), endoscopic ultrasound, and pancreatic biopsy.
Treating Pancreatic Cancer
Our physicians use minimally invasive techniques whenever possible. Surgery for pancreatic cancer is appropriate in approximately 25% of patients who present at early stages of the disease. Chemotherapy may be given preoperatively to both lessen the size of a tumor and to increase the chance of a cure.
The standard surgical procedure is called a pancreaticoduodenectomy, also known as the Whipple Procedure. This procedure may be combined with vascular reconstruction. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy may also be given both preoperatively or postoperatively to increase the chance of a cure.
If surgery is not an option, then chemotherapy and radiation are often offered together, in what is called Combined Modality Therapy, to prolong survival and offer palliative care (help reduce symptoms). Management of pain is also an important part of treating advanced pancreatic cancer.