Once pancreatic cancer has spread beyond the pancreas, it is very difficult to contain. Nonetheless, there are treatments that can significantly slow the progress of the disease, and in some cases help patients to survive for several years, especially if it is caught early.
Forms of treatment for pancreatic cancer are continually tested in clinical research trials. Treatments under study include pancreatic cancer vaccines, gene therapy, biologic therapy (drugs that stimulate the immune system to fight cancer), drugs that may prevent cancer from growing new blood vessels, and monoclonal antibodies that may inhibit the cancer’s growth.
When one takes part in a clinical trial, there may be side effects and there is no guarantee that the experimental treatment will work. However, it is a way to gain access to cutting-edge treatments that may turn out to be more effective than current ones. Also, the federal government monitors these clinical trials to ensure that they are conducted as safely as possible. If you are interested in participating in a clinical study, speak to your doctor about this possibility.Treatments include:
Effect of Surgery on Pancreatic Cancer
In Stage 1 of pancreatic cancer, when the cancer is still localized in the pancreas and has not spread, surgery can be most effective. Sometimes surgery is also employed to remove a portion of the...
Read more about Pancreatic Cancer and Surgery.
Effect of Chemotherapy on Pancreatic Cancer
When the cancer has spread beyond the pancreas and cannot be completely removed by surgery, then chemotherapy is used to attack and kill cancer cells, often together with radiation therapy....
Read more about Pancreatic Cancer and Chemotherapy.
Effect of Radiation Therapy—External on Pancreatic Cancer
Radiation therapy, often in combination with chemotherapy, is normally administered in Stages 2 and 3 of pancreatic cancer. Sometimes radiation therapy is applied after surgery for Stage 1 pancreatic...
Read more about Pancreatic Cancer and Radiation.
Effect of Drugs on Pancreatic Cancer
Certain pharmaceutical drugs, such as erlotinib, can “target” cancer cells to block their growth. Usually, targeted drug therapy is used in combination with chemotherapy. Different target drugs are...
Read more about Pancreatic Cancer and Drugs.
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...
Read more about Pancreatic Cancer and Palliative Strategies.
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
Mayo Clinic Staff. 2010. “Pancreatic Cancer: Treatments and Drugs.” (Online) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pancreatic-cancer/DS00357/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs
A.P. John Institute for Cancer Research. 2009. “Pancreatic Cancer.” (Online) http://www.apjohncancerinstitute.org/cancer/pancreatic.htm
National Cancer Institute, U.S. National Institutes of Health. 2009. “Pancreatic Cancer Treatment.” (Online) http://nci.nih.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/pancreatic/Patient/page4
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