If you are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the cancer care team handling your case will discuss the cancer treatment options with you. Furthermore, it is vital to think carefully about choices made. Thus, you will have the opportunity to weigh the benefits of each treatment option counter to the probable risks and side effects.
Ways Doctors Treat Pancreatic Cancer
Treatment of this cancer depends on the type and stage of cancer. Moreover, the age, health, and personal preference will also weigh in on the treatment decision. (1)
- Surgery: First off, this is the primary form of therapy among the other cancer treatment options. Doctors sometimes carry it out when the cancer is diagnosed during the advanced stages. However, it is less applicable if the cancer has metastasized to the rest of the body or has attached itself to the body’s main blood vessels. Types of pancreatic cancer surgery treatments include:
- Whipple Procedure: Among the most common, this procedure involves surgical removal of the pancreatic head. First, the surgeon has to remove a small part of the intestines, gallbladder, and bile duct. He or she then reconnects the biliary system and the rest of the pancreas to the small intestines. Additionally, a percentage of people who undergo this surgery take enzymes to aid in food digestion.
- Distal Pancreatectomy: This, on the other hand, is a complicated procedure that requires the removal of the body and tail of the pancreas, and the whole spleen.
- Total Pancreatectomy: Moreover, this procedure involves the removal of the entire pancreas if the cancer has spread entirely or has moved to many sections of the pancreas.
- Radiotherapy or Radiological Oncology: Lastly, this treatment includes the use of high-energy rays to eliminate the cancerous cells. The most common type is external-beam radiotherapy. Furthermore, radiation Oncology consists of a specified number of procedures performed over a particular time frame.
- Chemotherapy: This treatment utilizes anti-cancer medication which enters the circulatory blood system and spread to affected areas destroying cancerous cells by eliminating their ability to grow and spread.
What Doctors Treat Pancreatic Cancer?
Based on the options you have, different types of doctors can be part of the care team that administers your treatment option. Various doctors that may help treat you include: (2)
- A surgeon: A surgeon is a doctor who uses surgery to treat diseases or other problems
- An endocrinologist: On the other hand, this is a doctor who treats diseases in glands that secrete hormones
- A radiation oncologist: Furthermore, this is a doctor who uses radiation to treat cancer
- A medical oncologist: Lastly, a medical oncologist is a doctor who uses chemotherapy and other medicines to treat cancer
There might be many other specialists as part of your treatment team, including nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs), nurses, psychologists, social workers, nutritionists, and other health professionals.