Pancreatic cancer forms in tissues of the pancreas, which is a small organ behind the lower portion of the stomach. This organ works to assist in digestion and metabolism. Unlike in other organs which can be affected by cancer, pancreatic cancer is hard to catch, even when you know which symptoms to search for. This often leads to a late diagnosis, which makes treatment more difficult.
More pancreatic cancer treatment options are available, the earlier the disease is spotted. This gives a higher rate of survival as well. Other factors which determine the treatment to be used include the age of the patient, health and medical history, allergies and reaction to medicine or radiotherapy, and personal considerations are made with the request of individual patients and their families.
Ultimately, a medical team will use their best judgement to determine the risks of each treatment and whether or not it will benefit you at your current stage of cancer.
Surgery is one of the first pancreatic cancer treatment options considered, just like in many forms of cancer, both as a possible cure and to lessen the symptoms caused by the disease. In the early stages of pancreatic cancer, your doctor may suggest removing the tumor with surgery. This is only curative as long as the cancer hasn’t already spread to other organs. Removing all of the cancer cells means that minimal additional treatment will be necessary, although most medical professionals will still suggest radiotherapy to reduce the odds of the cancer returning.
If the cancer has already spread, your doctor may suggest surgery as a palliative option to reduce symptoms, and help slow the progression of the disease. When surgery is not a viable option for pancreatic cancer, you will be given other options for treatment.
Pancreatic Cancer Medications:
When people think of pancreatic cancer treatment options, they often think of chemotherapy. This is the use of medications, which target cancer cells to destroy them. Oftentimes, chemotherapy is used in addition to another form of treatment. It is usually supplied intravenously, but it can sometimes be taken as orally as a pill.
Chemotherapy Protective Drugs: Reduces the side effects of chemotherapy treatment.
5FU + Leucovorin is a regiment used for chemotherapy of pancreatic cancer. It makes use of two chemotherapy drugs: leucovorin and fluorouracil, which are also called 5FU.
Radiotherapy is given to most cancer patients at one time or another and is one of the pancreatic cancer treatment options which always offers some form of assistance, even if it is only palliative. The radiation used in this treatment, shrinks cancerous tissue and destroys cancer cells. This can help reduce swelling and pain, and offer hope for a cure.
Aside from the standard forms mentioned above, some medical professionals now offer a more targeted form of therapy, which is aimed directly at treating only cancerous tissue. This lowers the risk of side effects and keeps patients stronger during treatment because the entire body isn’t being affected. Targeted treatments like this come in the form of drugs, similar to chemotherapy, but use different ingredients, and are not always available in every country.
You and your doctor will work together to find those pancreatic cancer treatment options that will work for you. Sometimes experimental treatment options become available with new cancer fighting properties, and your physician may want you to try them out. Researching treatment on your own as well as with your doctor can help you to better understand them.