Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer

The treatments for pancreatic cancer usually depend on the kind of cancer and the stage to which it has progressed. Pancreatic cancer is usually broken into four stages and the treatment is performed depending on which stage the cancer has reached.

The first stage is the earliest and therefore the easiest to treat. If the tumors are local, they can be removed through surgery. This is known as resectable pancreatic cancer. You can even get chemotherapy for the pancreatic cancer. If the cancer has slightly advanced and has reached a locally unresectable stage, it can still be treated with the help of surgery and other cancer treatment methods such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy. However, if the cancer has reached a metastatic stage, where the cancer has reached to other vital organs, the prognosis is very poor and the doctors cannot effectively treat the condition.

Surgery is usually the only completely curative form of treatment for this kind of cancer. The removal of the cancer is known as pancreatoduodenectomy or the Whipple procedure. This procedure usually involves the removal of parts of several vital organs of the body. These include part of the stomach, pancreas, duodenum, lymph nodes, bile ducts and the gallbladder. You should ideally get yourself evaluated in a hospital so that the doctor can figure out exactly what treatment is exactly right for you.

Pancreatic cancer may not spread completely to various parts of the body. However, for an advanced unresectable pancreatic cancer, which makes up for the third stage of the cancer, the doctor prescribes low dose chemotherapy. Along with that, you may also be offered radiation treatments to the pancreas as well as the surrounding tissues. The symptoms can often be minimized using radiation therapy. However, the treatment has its own side effects.

In case the tumor has metastasized, it becomes a problem which is very difficult to deal with. In fact, a lot of doctors do not attempt treatment at this stage in an attempt to retain whatever little quality of life the patient still has. Chemotherapy along with a systemic treatment plan is required. Chemotherapy usually travels with the blood and is able to shrink tumors wherever they may have developed all through the body. For those who are at a very advanced stage of the cancer, the treatment is generally not recommended for the fear of the potential side effects. The treatment options vary and while some people may have a single chemotherapy agent, there are others who may have to get up to three different chemotherapy agents at the same time.

Frequently asked questions
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