Pancreatic Cancer Surgery
What is Pancreatic Cancer?
Pancreatic cancer occurs when cells in the pancreas grow uncontrollably, eventually forming tumors. Without treatment, the cancerous cells will grow to invade nearby organs and/or spread to distant organs.
What are the symptoms?
Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect at an early stage, but there are some warning signs that should prompt an evaluation by your physician:
- Dark-colored urine
- Itchy skin
- Digestive problems, including abnormal bowel movements, nausea, or vomiting
- Pain the upper abdomen, which may extend to the back
- Loss of appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Blood clots
- Diabetes, particularly new-onset diabetes
Types of Pancreatic Surgery
There are two broad categories of surgery and procedures for pancreatic cancer. The first is a potentially curative surgery that is undertaken with the goal of removing all cancerous cells. The second category is palliative surgery, procedures, or treatment, focused on relieving symptoms and prolonging life, when the cancer is too advanced to be removed completely.
Potentially Curative Surgery
Many studies have been conducted to evaluate which patients will benefit from surgery for pancreatic cancer, and only those in whom all of the cancer can be removed will benefit. In these cases, it is also important to note the surgery on the pancreas is complex and there is a much higher risk for perioperative complications compared to surgery on other organs.
In cases where the tumor has invaded surrounding structures or spread to other organs, removing the cancer provides no benefit. In these cases, the goal of any intervention is to relieve symptoms and prolong life without undue risk for harm. If the bile duct is obstructed, a stent can often be placed endoscopically. If the stomach is obstructed, a surgical bypass procedure can be performed to allow for food to pass into the intestine. Chemotherapy and radiation are also used to slow the progression of the cancer.
See a Pancreatic Surgeon Today
Dr. Pozzessere has made a career out of specializing in pancreatic surgery, which emphasizes the use of robot-assisted procedures that allow for tiny incisions rather than larger ones. By using precise surgical tools and robot-assisted instruments, Dr. Pozzessere achieves the best results with minimally invasive processes.