What Is Pancreatic Cancer?
Pancreatic cancer cells are abnormal cells of pancreatic origin, which multiply and replicate uncontrollably. They can grow without restriction. Ultimately, these cells can spread to other organs if left untreated.
Adenocarcinoma is the cancerous cell type that arises from pancreatic ductal cell origin, while neuroendocrine cancers arise from pancreatic islet cell origin. Pancreatic cancer is fatal if left untreated.
Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
Surgical procedures, such as the Whipple Procedure, play an integral role in treating patients with pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Mark Fraiman is one of Maryland’s top pancreatic cancer doctors and a renowned expert in pancreatic cancer treatment in Baltimore, MD, including the use of surgical management. Below are three videos that will help you better understand pancreatic cancer. Dr. Fraiman discusses the diagnosis, etiologies, and treatment of pancreatic cancer.
Classification of Pancreatic Cancer
- Neuroendocrine neoplasms
- Psuedopapillary neoplasms
- Intrapapillary mucinous neoplasms
Pancreatic Cancer Staging
- Borderline resectable
- Locally advanced
Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms
- Painless jaundice
- Abdominal or back pain
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Unexplained weight loss
- New onset diabetes
Pancreatic Cancer Risk Factors
- Chronic Pancreatitis
- Genetic (10%)
- Cigarette smoking
Identified Genetic Mutations
- BRCA2 (Breast and Ovary)
- NF1 (Neurofibromatosis)
- p16 (Melanoma syndrome)
Surgery for Pancreatic Cancer
Surgery is often the best way to completely cure pancreatic cancer and, in some cases, to extend the quality of life.
As one of the best doctors for pancreatic cancer in Maryland, Dr. Fraiman is an expert in both open surgery and minimally invasive surgery for cancer of the pancreas. He performs complex open surgical surgery and laparoscopic surgery. He has also been at the forefront of pioneering innovations that have made pancreatic surgery a safe and effective treatment for many patients.
St. Joseph’s Medical Center has one of the best pancreatic surgery teams in Maryland and across the U.S. Our team of specialists performs more than 200 operations for people with pancreatic illnesses every year.
Currently, surgery is the best option:
- For people with tumors that have not spread to other organs
- When the tumor can be completely taken out
- To remove precancerous lumps from the pancreas
Your diagnosis for pancreatic cancer will determine whether surgery is the best treatment for you. We usually don’t recommend surgery or any other type of treatment until we verify it will be of benefit to you.
Chemotherapy for Pancreatic Cancer
Chemotherapy significantly extends the life of people with pancreatic cancer. It is usually:
- Combined with surgery to treat tumors confined to the pancreas
- Used as the main treatment for inoperable tumors limited to the pancreas
- Recommended for people with tumors that have spread from the pancreas to other organs
Our surgeons will carefully tailor your treatment to your condition to ensure it’s as effective as possible in helping you maintain your quality of life.
Radiation Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer
At St. Joseph’s Medical Center, we use radiation therapy:
- In combination with surgery and chemotherapy to completely remove tumors within the pancreas
- To shrink advanced tumors so surgery can be safely carried out
- To relieve pain and improve your quality of life
Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms
- Weight loss
- Blood clots
- Pale and smelly stool
- Pain after eating
Is Pancreatic Cancer Curable?
If pancreatic cancer is at stage A, a complete cure is possible. If it is at stage B and C, a cure isn’t usually possible, but chemotherapy can slow the progression of the disease and prolong life for years. If pancreatic cancer is at stage D, it’s usually too late to stop or slow the progression of the illness, and treatment is often targeted at relieving the symptoms of pain and discomfort.
Can You Live With Pancreatic Cancer?
No one can say exactly how long you’ll live with pancreatic cancer because it depends on individual prognoses and treatments.
For more information regarding pancreatic cancer treatment or a consultation with one of our liver specialists, please feel free to get in touch by completing our contact form. We will get back to you as soon as possible.