Pancreatic cancer can be a tough diagnosis for the patient as well as for the patient’s family and friends. Unfortunately, there is a very high mortality rate associated with pancreatic cancer and much of that is because this cancer is so difficult to diagnose. There are not accurate enough tests to detect pancreatic cancer at its earliest stages and by the time the disease is caught it can mean highly invasive surgeries and a grim prognosis. Much is being done to find new and better ways to detect and diagnose pancreatic cancer; to try to bring more hope to those fighting this disease. But in the meantime, if you are someone who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, here are the treatment options you can expect:
Surgery. In many cases, surgeons will choose to remove a cancer tumor from the pancreas. There are a few options for surgery including a whipple procedure during which the head of the pancreas is removed along with part of the stomach, part of the small intestine, the bile duct, and the gallbladder; a distal pancreatectomy during which the body and tail of the pancreas are removed along with the spleen; and a total pancreatectomy during with the whole pancreas is removed along with part of the small intestine and stomach, the gallbladder, spleen, common bile duct, and perhaps neighboring lymph nodes.
Radiation. Pancreatic cancer can be targeted through external or internal radiation procedures.
Chemotherapy. One of the more commonly used treatment options for cancer is chemotherapy during which drugs are given to the patient and then travel throughout the body to target cancer cells wherever they may hide.
In many cases, doctors will choose a combination of therapies to target pancreatic cancer in the most effective way possible. Your medical team will put together an appropriate treatment plan that speaks to your personal diagnosis and stage of cancer for the best possible chances for success.