TREATMENTS FOR PANCREATIC CANCER
Treatment involves surgery to remove the portion of pancreas with the tumour.
However, if the cancer is in its advanced stages and has spread to other parts of the body, treatment will involve
- radiotherapy and
- managing symptoms for the best quality of life.
What Treatment Choices Are Available For Pancreatic Cancer?
Surgical approaches differ for masses in the head, body, tail, or uncinate process of the pancreas.
Surgical resection is the mainstay treatment for Pancreatic Cancer. It provides a survival benefit in patients with small, localized pancreatic tumors.
Patients with unresectable, metastatic, or recurrent disease are unlikely to benefit from surgical resection.
What Alternative Treatments Are Available For Pancreatic Cancer?
Pancreatic tumors are resistant to treatment with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Patients with any stage of pancreatic cancer can be considered candidates for clinical trials because of the poor response to chemotherapy, radiation therapy
How Will My Life Change After Pancreatic Cancer Surgery?
For most patient Postoperative Care Plan are focused on palliative Care. This involves treatments for the reduction of symptoms and may be achieved with various conventional therapies.
Palliative measures that can improve quality of life while not affecting the overall survival rate include the following:
- Surgical or radiologic biliary decompression.
- Relief of gastric outlet obstruction.
- Pain control.
- Psychological care to address the potentially disabling psychological events associated with the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer.
What Are The Range Of Recovery Outcomes After Pancreatic Cancer Surgery?
The primary factors that influence prognosis are:
- Whether the tumor is localized and can be completely resected.
- Whether the tumor has spread to lymph nodes or elsewhere.
The highest cure rate occurs if the tumor is truly localized to the pancreas, however, this stage of disease accounts for less than 20% of cases. Exocrine pancreatic cancer is rarely curable and has a poor overall survival rate.
For patients with localized disease and small cancers (<2 cm) with no lymph node metastases and no extension beyond the capsule of the pancreas the post-operative survival rate improves. Where a complete surgical resection is successful a 5-year survival rate for one quarter of patients is possible.
What Are The Specific Procedures For Pancreatic Cancer?
Pancreatic surgery comprises of a wide range of surgical procedures. Some of the commonly performed pancreatic surgeries include:
- Whipple Procedure: Also known as pancreaticoduodenectomy, is performed to treat cancers at the head (wide part) of the pancreas. During the procedure, the head of the pancreas, the gallbladder, duodenum, a part of the bile duct, and sometimes a part of the stomach are removed. The remaining bile duct, intestine, and pancreas are then reconnected so that enzymes and bile can flow back into the intestines.
- Distal pancreatectomy is usually performed when the cancer is found in the middle or tapering end of the pancreas. This procedure takes less time and has a shorter period of recovery when compared to Whipple procedure.
- Pancreatic necrosectomy is usually performed in terminally ill patients with severe acute pancreatitis and in patients with dead or infected pancreas.