Pancreatic Cancer Treatment at World Class Hospitals in India
Pancreatic Cancer Treatment 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).
Stages of Pancreatic Cancer
Stage is a term used in cancer treatment to describe the extent of the cancer’s spread. The stages of pancreatic cancer are used to guide treatment and to classify patients for clinical trials. The stages of pancreatic cancer are:
- Stage 0: No spread. Pancreatic cancer is limited to a single layer of cells in the pancreas. The pancreatic cancer is not visible on imaging tests or even to the naked eye.
- Stage I: Local growth. Pancreatic cancer is limited to the pancreas, but has grown to less than 2 centimeters across (stage IA) or greater than 2 centimeters (stage IB).
- Stage II: Local spread. Pancreatic cancer has grown outside the pancreas, or has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage III: Wider spread. The tumor has expanded into nearby major blood vessels or nerves but has not metastasized.
- Stage IV: Confirmed spread. Pancreatic cancer has spread to distant organs.
Pancreatic Cancer Treatment at World Class Cancer Hospitals in India
- Surgery for tumors in the pancreatic head. If your cancer is located in the head of the pancreas, you may consider an operation called a Whipple procedure (pancreaticoduodenectomy). The Whipple procedure is technically difficult operation to remove the head of the pancreas, the first part of the small intestine (duodenum), the gallbladder and part of the bile duct. In some situations, part of the stomach and nearby lymph nodes may be removed as well. Your surgeon reconnects the remaining parts of your pancreas, stomach and intestines to allow you to digest food.
- Surgery for tumors in the pancreatic body and tail. Surgery to remove the left side (body and tail) of the pancreas is called distal pancreatectomy. Your surgeon may also remove your spleen.
Surgery to remove the entire pancreas. In some people, the entire pancreas may need to be removed. This is called total pancreatectomy. You can live relatively normally without a pancreas but do need lifelong insulin and enzyme replacement.
- Surgery for tumors affecting nearby blood vessels. Many people with advanced pancreatic cancer are not considered eligible for the Whipple procedure or other pancreatic surgeries if their tumors involve nearby blood vessels. At a very few medical centers in the United States, highly specialized and experienced surgeons will safely perform these operations with removal and reconstruction of parts of blood vessels in select patients.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to help kill cancer cells. These drugs can be injected into a vein or taken orally. You may receive one chemotherapy drug or a combination of them.
Chemotherapy can also be combined with radiation therapy (chemoradiation). Chemoradiation is typically used to treat cancer that has spread beyond the pancreas, but only to nearby organs and not to distant regions of the body. At specialized medical centers, this combination may be used before surgery to help shrink the tumor. Sometimes it is used after surgery to reduce the risk that pancreatic cancer may recur.
In people with advanced pancreatic cancer, chemotherapy is often used to control cancer growth and prolong survival.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams, such as those made from X-rays and protons, to destroy cancer cells. You may receive radiation treatments before or after cancer surgery, often in combination with chemotherapy. Or your doctor may recommend a combination of radiation and chemotherapy treatments when your cancer can’t be treated surgically.
Radiation therapy usually comes from a machine that moves around you, directing radiation to specific points on your body (external beam radiation). In specialized medical centers, radiation therapy may be delivered during surgery (intraoperative radiation).
Radiation therapy traditionally uses X-rays to treat cancer. Some medical centers offer proton beam radiation therapy, which may be a treatment option for some people with advanced pancreatic cancer.
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