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HomeMajor Types of CancersPancreatic Cancer Treatment

Pancreatic Cancer Treatment at World Class Hospitals in India

The pancreas is in the upper abdomen and lies behind the stomach and intestines (guts). The shape of the pancreas is like a tadpole, and so the pancreas has a 'head', a 'body' and a 'tail'. The head section is nearest to the duodenum (the part of the gut just after the stomach). The pancreas makes a fluid that contains enzymes (chemicals) that are needed to digest food. The enzymes are made in the pancreatic cells and are passed into tiny ducts (tubes). These ducts join together like branches of a tree to form the main pancreatic duct. This drains the enzyme-rich fluid into the duodenum. The enzymes are in an inactive form in the pancreas (otherwise they would digest the pancreas). They are 'activated' in the duodenum to digest food. Post a QueryPost a Query


Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

  • In most of the cases the tumour first develops in the head of the pancreas and it tends to block the bile duct. This stops the flow of bile into the duodenum which leads to :
  • Jaundice (yellow skin caused by bile seeping into the bloodstream due to the blockage).
  • Dark urine - caused by the jaundiced blood being filtered by the kidneys.
  • Pale faeces - as the faeces contain no bile which causes their normal brown colour.
  • Pain is often not a feature at first. Therefore a 'painless jaundice' that becomes worse is often the first sign of pancreatic cancer. Nausea and vomiting are also fairly common symptoms...
  • Pain in the upper abdomen. Pain can also pass through to the back.Request a Call BackRequest a Call Back

Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer

The initial tests revolve around the symptoms of Jaundice to confirm if its because of blocked gallstone or hepatitis (liver inflammation) or if the cause of jaundice is a blockage from the head of the pancreas...

  • CT Scan (computerised tomography) is a commonly used test to assess pancreatic cancer. It is a specialised X-ray test that can give quite clear pictures of the inside of your body.
  • MRI Scan is sometimes done. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. An MRI scan uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create pictures on a computer of tissues, organs and other structures inside your body.
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) : An endoscope (gastroscope) is a thin, flexible, telescope. It is passed through the mouth, into the oesophagus and stomach and on into the duodenum. The endoscope contains fibre optic channels which allows light to shine down so the doctor or nurse can see inside. Some endoscopes are fitted with a tiny ultrasound scanner at their tip which can obtain pictures of structures behind the gut such as the pancreas.
  • Endoscopic retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): A Test that uses a flexible scope inserted through the nose, stomach, and into the pancreas and may be used to introduce a dye for X-rays or to place a stent (a metal or plastic tube that can help keep a duct open and functioning)
  • Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP): A Type of MRI that is used to see the pancreas, its ducts, and the bile ducts more clearly, often used before or instead of ERCP.

Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer

Surgery : One of the following types of surgery may be used to take out the tumor:

  • Whipple procedure : A surgical procedure in which the head of the pancreas, the gallbladder, part of the stomach, part of the small intestine, and the bile duct are removed. Care is taken to preserve pancreas to produce digestive juices and insulin.
  • Total Pancreatectomy : This surgery removes the whole pancreas, part of the stomach, part of the small intestine, the common bile duct, the gallbladder, the spleen and nearby lymph nodes.
  • Distal Pancreatectomy : The body and the tail of the pancreas and usually the spleen are removed. If the cancer has spread and cannot be removed, the following types of palliative surgery may be done to relieve symptoms:
  • Surgical Biliary Bypass : If cancer is blocking the small intestine and bile is building up in the gallbladder, a biliary bypass may be done. During this operation, the doctor will cut the gallbladder or bile duct and sew it to the small intestine to create a new pathway around the blocked area.
  • Endoscopic Stent placement : If the tumor is blocking the bile duct, surgery may be done to put in a stent (a thin tube) to drain bile that has built up in the area. The doctor may place the stent through a catheter that drains to the outside of the body or the stent may go around the blocked area and drain the bile into the small intestine.
  • Gastric Bypass : If the tumor is blocking the flow of food from the stomach, the stomach may be sewn directly to the small intestine so the patient can continue to eat normally.

Chemotherapy : Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body.

Radiation therapy : India's leading Cancer hospitals now have some of the world's moset advanced radiation equipment like Linac, Novelis, Gamma Knife and Cyberknife for treating Pancreatic Cancers. High technology radiation is used to kill cancer cells without affecting the healthy tissues. Refer a PatientRefer a Patient


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