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Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA 
Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
Pancreatic Cancer
Causes and Risk Factors
Symptoms
Diagnosis
Staging
Treatment

Pancreatic cancer treatment
A treatment plan for pancreatic cancer differs from person to person. When established, treatment plans are decided based on several factors such as the person’s:

  • age
  • general health
  • location of the cancer
  • stage of the cancer

Often, you will work with a team of doctors to help treat pancreatic cancer. This health care team may include medical oncologists (doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating cancer), radiation oncologists (doctors who perform radiation therapy), and endocrinologists (doctors who specialize in hormones and the glands that produce them). Pancreatic cancer treatment goals are to:

  1. Completely eliminate the cancer when it's in early stages.
  2. Help relieve the symptoms and improve the person’s quality of life when the cancer cannot be treated and the death is imminent.
  3. Prevent further growth or spreading of tumors when the possibility of eliminating the cancer is excluded.

Biological therapy
Biological therapy use the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. This new approach uses materials made by the body or made in a laboratory to boost, direct, or restore the body’s natural defenses against disease.

Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy uses oral or intravenous drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment, meaning that the drugs flow through the bloodstream to nearly every part of the body to kill cancerous cells. It is generally given in cycles: A treatment period is followed by a recovery period, then another treatment period, and so on.

Chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer may be used in a variety of ways. Chemotherapy might be use as an additional therapy prior to or after surgery. Or chemotherapy might be a primary therapy used to treat locally advanced tumors that cannot be removed or metastatic diseases. In general, chemotherapy aims to minimize the effect of symptoms for tumors that cannot be removed or for cancers that have spread to other part of the body. This includes, possibly, improved survival. Chemo radiotherapy has been demonstrated to be superior to radiation therapy alone.

Radiation therapy
Pancreatic cancer is very responsive to treatment with radiation. Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may be external and use a machine or internally administered via thin plastic tubes that send radioisotopes to the area where the cancer cells are found. This modality is almost always used in combination with a chemotherapy regimen synergistic effect is created when the two modalities are given together. It should be noted that chemo radiotherapy leads to more side effects than chemotherapy alone.

Surgery
Presently, surgery offers the best chance for a cure and long term management of pancreatic cancer. If at all possible, doctors recommend surgery to remove the tumor(s) caused by pancreatic cancer. However not every patient is eligible for surgical intervention. The location, size and stage of the cancer may not make surgery an option.

Biliary drainage - Preoperative biliary drainage with stent placement may be performed done in individuals who present with bile duct obstruction and jaundice. This improves liver function prior to surgery and may lead to a better surgical prognosis.

Distal pancreatectomy – During a distal pancreatectomy, the bottom half of the pancreas is removed to treat the presence of a tumor fiund in the body or tail of the pancreas.

Whipple procedure (pancreatoduodenectomy) - The most common surgical strategy, the Whipple procedure aims to remove the pancreas and duodenum. This depends upon the location of the tumor and is usually preformed for tumors identified at the head (the first part of) the pancreas.

It is important for people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer to seek care from hospitals and/or doctors that provide the best quality care.  The best care can be obtained through hospitals or doctors that are experienced in caring for individuals with pancreatic cancer.  With more experience, hospitals and doctors may have greater knowledge of the disease and more effective treatment options. 

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Tags: cancer treatment, cancer cells, Cancer, treatment options, radiation therapy, whipple procedure, liver function, after surgery, Chemotherapy, health care, treatment, procedure, radiation, symptoms, Diseases, jaundice, approach, Recovery, surgery, glands
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