Pancreatic cancer treatment depends very much upon the stage and location of the tumor, as well upon other factors such as age and overall health. The main goal of pancreatic cancer treatment is to entirely eliminating the cancer. As occurs so often, treatment in many cases is just not possible, so the focus must be switched to preventing it from growing and causing more harm.
Treatment with Surgery
Only a very small number of patients are considered to have rescetable tumors, there is a good chance that they can be completely removed via surgical methods. Once it has spread, pancreatic cancer treatment with surgery is not usually any longer an option. There are two surgical options for treatment.
For Tumors in the Head – This is the most common location for pancreatic cancer tumors to be found, and a procedure called Whipple surgery is used to attempt to remove the tumor. This surgery involves the removal of the pancreas head, as well as a portion of the small intestine, the gall bladder and a part of the bile duct. A surgeon will reconnect the remaining parts of the stomach and intestines to allow continued food digestion.
Surgery for tumors in the pancreatic tail and body
The surgery which is used to remove tumors in the tail of the pancreas is called a distal pancreatectomy. In addition to removing the tail of the pancreas the spleen is also usually removed as well. This very common among sufferers of the disease.
Radiation therapy as a treatment may be considered before or after any surgery and may also be used in conjunction with chemotherapy. Radiation therapy is the use of high energy beams to try to destroy cancer cells. If a tumor has been deemed inoperable, many doctors will suggest a combination of radiation and chemo therapy as a viable process of treatment.
Chemotherapy is the use of ceratin drugs to try to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be taken orally or it may be administering via IV into a vein. There are a number of different chemotherapy drugs, and in oncologists will often try different combinations of the available treatments, until something is found to be effective.