Pancreatic Cancer

The Pancreas is a gland that produces digestive juices and hormones. Pancreatic Cancer is the 12th most common cancer in men and the 11th most common in women. Despite advancements in the detection and management of pancreatic cancer, the 5-year survival rate still stands at only 9%. Treatments include surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Get verified second opinions from OncoConnect’s curated list of international Oncologists.

About Pancreatic Cancer

The pancreas is a gland that produces digestive juices and hormones. Pancreatic cancer is the cancer that starts in the pancreas. This is the twelfth most commonly occurring cancer in men and the eleventh most common in women. Despite advancements in the detection and management of pancreatic cancer, the 5-year survival rate still stands at only 9%. There were 460,000 new cases reported in 2018 globally.

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer include pain in the stomach, jaundice and weight loss. Factors that can increase chances of getting pancreatic cancer include heavy smoking, alcohol and if you carry the faulty breast cancer genes BRCA2. It also has a higher risk in people who have Peutz – Jeghers Syndrome, Familial Atypical Multiple Mole Melanoma Syndrome (FAMMM), Lynch syndrome / hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC).

Once pancreatic cancer has been diagnosed, doctors will determine the stage of cancer and whether or not it is metastatic; based on which doctors would be able to devise a treatment plan. Pancreatic cancer treatment varies depending on the stage of cancer and whether or not the cancer has spread. Treatments include surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.

To know more about pancreatic cancer you can refer to our Pancreatic Cancer Guide

screening

Pancreatic cancer screening is not appropriate for everyone, individuals without risk factors should not consider pancreatic surveillance.

However screening for pancreatic cancer is recommend for people who have certain risk factors, including family history and certain genetic syndromes that increase susceptibility to pancreatic cancer.

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Consultant Medical Oncologist

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treatment

Surgery:

    • Resectable: this means they can remove it
    • Borderline Resectable: it is less clear whether it can be removed
    • Unresectable: this might be locally advanced which means that it has spread to nearby organs or it may have spread to more distant organs (metastatic)

Chemotherapy: This is given by administrating drugs intravenously (IV), intra-arterially (IA) or via intra – peritoneal (IP) injections to destroy cancer cells. This treatment can last up to many weeks.

Radiotherapy: This is performed by directing radiation beams at the targeted area, and like chemotherapy this treatment usually requires multiple sessions which are performed over a series of weeks. You may have an external radiotherapy called stereostatic body radiotherapy (SBRT) which may also be called CyberKnife.

Treatments are often used in combination with each other, particularly is the cancer is advanced and surgery is being performed. Chemotherapy may often be used before surgery to shrink the tumour or after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that could not be removed during surgery.

You may experience vomiting, nausea, hair loss, fatigue & body pain during treatment. Please do not hesitate to discuss this further with your doctor, for more information on the management of any symptoms.

recovery

  • Most patients require a post – surgical recovery period of up to 4- 6 weeks. Speak to your surgeon to understand the amount of recovery you would need following your treatment.
  • Appropriate rest is also important during this period.
  • If there is pain and discomfort then please speak to your doctor for its management.

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length of stay

Hospital Stay:     3-14 days for surgery

Total Stay:           Depending upon treatment the length of stay can wary from 2 weeks to a few months

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