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How Is Pancreatic Cancer Treated?

At this time, pancreatic cancer can only be cured if the cancer is found at an early stage (before it has spread) and only if the patient is healthy enough to have surgery. However, treatment other than surgery may be able to control the disease and help patients live longer and feel better.
When a cure or treatment of the disease is not possible, some patients and their doctors choose palliative therapy. Palliative therapy is used to improve the quality of a person's life by controlling pain and other problems caused by the disease, but it will not cure the cancer.
Factors that may influence the treatment for pancreatic cancer include:
  • The stage of the cancer (see Stages of Pancreatic Cancer)
  • The location where the tumor started
  • Whether the cancer has spread outside the pancreas
  • The patient's age and general health.
In general, treatments include:
Treatment of pancreatic cancer generally begins a few weeks after the diagnosis, which will give the patient time to talk with his or her doctor about treatment choices, get a second opinion, and learn more about the disease.
(Click Pancreatic Cancer Treatment for more information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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