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Pancreatic Cancer and Palliative Strategies

Read more about Palliative Strategies.

Effect of Palliative Strategies on Pancreatic Cancer

Palliative treatments may be indicated at any stage of pancreatic cancer, depending on the patient’s discomfort level and the physician’s discretion. Usually, as severe symptoms rarely manifest during Stage 1, palliative treatments are reserved for later stages.

Side Effects and Warnings

Pain and discomfort from pancreatic cancer can be alleviated in several ways:

Pain medication. Pain medicines can be very effective, although they often cause drowsiness.

Nerve block. This involves the injection of alcohol into the abdomen to block the sensation of pain from affected nerves.

Nerve removal. Certain nerves that transmit pain may be surgically removed.

Stent insertion. Sometimes, a tumor cannot be entirely removed by surgery. In these cases, the tumor may continue to block the flow of digestive juices from the pancreas to the digestive tract. A type of bypass surgery can be performed to alleviate this condition. A tiny tube known as a stent may be surgically inserted to relieve blockages in the ducts that proceed from the pancreas, thereby also relieving pain and discomfort.

Acupuncture, acupressure, and therapeutic massage. These treatments can help relax the body and nervous system, and thereby reduce pain.

References

Mayo Clinic Staff. 2010. “Pancreatic Cancer: Coping and Support.” (Online) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pancreatic-cancer/DS00357/DSECTION=coping-and-support

National Institutes of Health. 2001. “What You Need to Know About Cancers of the Pancreas.” (Online booklet) http://nci.nih.gov/pdf/WYNTK/WYNTK_pancreas.pdf

A.P. John Institute for Cancer Research. 2009. “Pancreatic Cancer.” (Online) http://www.apjohncancerinstitute.org/cancer/pancreatic.htm

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