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Pancreatic cancer recurrence can develop after a patient completes an initial course of treatment and experiences a period of time during which there is no evidence of cancer being present. There is always a chance that some cancer cells will survive treatment. Over time, residual cells can begin to grow and form recurrent cancer. The cancer can reappear locally within the pancreas, regionally within nearby lymph nodes or distantly in other parts of the body. Therefore, it is vital for a pancreatic cancer patient to have regular medical checkups to ensure that any health changes are identified, evaluated and treated. Additionally, a patient should contact a physician regarding any health issues that arise between regularly scheduled appointments.

During a follow-up appointment, a physician will typically check for pancreatic cancer recurrence by:

  • Asking questions about potential health issues
  • Performing a physical examination
  • Ordering diagnostic lab and imaging tests, if necessary

The treatment recommended for a pancreatic cancer recurrence will depend on the location of the recurrent cancer as well as the patient’s prior treatment and overall health. Options include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Clinical trials
  • Pain management
  • Surgery or stent placement to bypass blockages in the pancreatic ducts or small intestines

Patients who have concerns about a possible cancer recurrence are welcome to consult with the experts at Moffitt Cancer Center’s Gastrointestinal Oncology Program. Moffitt is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center based in Florida, and we are recognized nationally for our groundbreaking cancer research efforts. Additionally, as a high-volume cancer center, we are able to offer patients many advantages that aren’t found elsewhere. Because we see many pancreatic cancer patients, we have more experience in every aspect of their care, including diagnosis, staging, treatment and management of side effects, and greater experience leads to a higher level of expertise. Additionally, Moffitt patients have access to all of our advanced, comprehensive cancer care options in a single, convenient location – even without referrals. 

Medically reviewed by Dae Won Kim, MD.

To learn more about pancreatic cancer recurrence, contact us at 1-888-663-3488, or  request to schedule an appointment online to meet with a member of our multispecialty team of oncologists specializing in pancreatic cancer.