Treatment for pancreatic cancer (part 6)

Published : 09 Nov 2021 09:30 PM | Updated : 10 Nov 2021 03:25 PM

Treatment for pancreatic cancer depends on the stage and location of the cancer as well as on your overall health and personal preferences. For most people, the first goal of pancreatic cancer treatment is to eliminate the cancer, when possible. 


Surgery for tumors in the pancreatic head: If your cancer is located in the head of the pancreas, you may consider an operation called a Whipple procedure (pancreaticoduodenectomy). The Whipple procedure is a technically difficult operation to remove the head of the pancreas, the first part of the small intestine (duodenum), the gallbladder, part of the bile duct and nearby lymph nodes. 

Surgery for tumors in the pancreatic body and tail: Surgery to remove the left side (body and tail) of the pancreas is called distal pancreatectomy. Your surgeon may also need to remove your spleen. 

Read More: How to reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer (part 4)

Surgery to remove the entire pancreas: In some people, the entire pancreas may need to be removed. This is called total pancreatectomy. You can live relatively normally without a pancreas but do need lifelong insulin and enzyme replacement.

Surgery for tumors affecting nearby blood vessels: Many people with advanced pancreatic cancer aren't considered eligible for the Whipple procedure or other pancreatic surgeries if their tumors involve nearby blood vessels. 

    Courtesy: Mayo Clinic

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