Pancreas Cancer Treatment
Pancreatic cancer treatment can take a variety of forms. The specific approach recommended will depend on the stage of the cancer and other factors that are unique to the patient. Because pancreatic cancer is relatively uncommon, a patient should seek care from a high-volume, specialty cancer center, such as Moffitt Cancer Center. The multispecialty team of cancer experts in our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program sees and treats many pancreatic cancer patients, resulting in greater knowledge and a broader range of treatment options than are generally available at smaller and less experienced cancer centers. Using a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to patient care, we consistently achieve outcomes that exceed national averages and enhance each patient’s quality of life.
Some of the pancreatic cancer treatment options available at Moffitt include:
- Surgery – The standard treatment for resectable (removable) tumors, surgery can be performed to remove all or part of the pancreas as well as nearby tissues, such as the duodenum, gallbladder, spleen, lymph nodes and/or a portion of the stomach. Our innovative surgical approaches include the Whipple procedure, distal pancreatectomy, total pancreatectomy, splenectomy, resection of tumors involving blood vessels, biliary bypass, gastric bypass and laparoscopic procedures.
- Chemotherapy – Therapeutic drugs can be administered by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle to slow tumor growth or prevent cancer recurrence. At Moffitt, we also offer novel combination chemotherapy and biologic agent therapy.
- Radiation therapy – Targeted, high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation are used to destroy cancer cells. The Moffitt pancreatic cancer team also offers the latest stereotactic body radiotherapy.
- Clinical trials – Moffitt is well-recognized for its landmark research that has led to the discovery of new drugs, surgical techniques, diagnostic and treatment options (such as endoscopy, molecular therapy and immunotherapy) and risk assessment and cancer detection methods. Our breakthrough discoveries in the lab continue to lead to innovative clinical trials, allowing our patients to be among the first to benefit from promising new therapies.
- Immunotherapy - A noteworthy development in cancer immunotherapy is personalized cancer vaccines. Tailor-made for each patient, these vaccines can target the specific genetic and molecular profile of a tumor. Personalized pancreatic cancer vaccines can boost the immune system's power by helping it identify and attack unique pancreatic tumor cells.
In addition to the latest approaches to treatment for pancreatic cancer, Moffitt patients have access to a variety of supportive services. For instance, we offer pain management options, such as nerve blocks and pain pumps, which may be recommended to relieve pain caused by a pancreatic tumor that is pressing on nerves or organs near the pancreas. Also, because surgery can sometimes interfere with the production of pancreatic enzymes, a patient may benefit from incorporating nutritional therapy into his or her comprehensive treatment plan.