Treatment for pancreatic cancer depends on the following factors:
The main treatment for localised pancreatic cancer is surgery. Some patients may also require other treatments such as chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. For patients who are not suitable for curative surgery, surgery may be performed to relieve symptoms such as jaundice or nausea caused by a blockage in the bile duct.
An individual with cancer should be assessed by a specialist to determine which treatment is best suited for them.
The surgical procedure depends on the location of the tumour and whether it can be removed.
Additional procedures to clear any obstruction of the bile ducts might be done before surgery. This can be done with a tube inserted into the bile duct via endoscopic (ERCP) access, or with a tube inserted directly through the skin into the liver, known as Percutaneous Transhepatic Biliary Drainage (PTBD).
Radiotherapy also known as radiation therapy, uses powerful energy beams to kill cancer cells. It may be used when the cancer cannot be completely removed during surgery or to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.
Chemotherapy is sometimes recommended after surgery if there is a risk that the cancer might return. It may also be used before surgery to shrink the cancer, so that it is more likely to be removed completely during surgery.
Supportive care is treatment that helps to improve the symptoms of pancreatic cancer such as problems with eating and weight loss, pain, nausea, tiredness or lethargy.
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