Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer care that helps you receive the compassionate support and innovative treatments you need.

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Receive pancreatic cancer care, close to home, with experienced cancer specialists. From diagnosis, through treatment, you will be supported by the highly experienced care team at Nuvance Health. Your care team is part of your community, meaning cutting-edge pancreatic cancer research, clinical trials and treatment plans are right in your backyard. You can take great comfort in knowing that the very best care and treatment for pancreatic cancer is at Nuvance Health.

Pancreatic Cancer Care at Nuvance Health: Why Choose Us?

Experienced cancer specialists, including doctors, nutritionists, specially trained nurses and social workers, guide your treatment. The specialists work as team to tailor services to your needs. Highlights of our program include:

  • Careful diagnosis
    You benefit from research-based methods and advanced technology for detailed pancreas imaging. These efforts help us pinpoint the location of the cancer and its severity based on the size and whether it has spread. We’re also able to evaluate pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors with a high degree of accuracy. Read more about cancer diagnosis.
  • Advanced surgical options
    Eligible patients have access to sophisticated techniques, such as the Whipple procedure. This surgery disconnects the head of the pancreas from nearby organs to remove the cancer. Many patients have surgery using minimally invasive techniques that require smaller incisions. Explore cancer surgery.
  • Chemotherapy treatments
    Chemotherapy and other types of drug therapies are used to slow cancer cell growth and prevent it from spreading. Experienced Nuvance Health Cancer Institute staff deliver these services where it's safest and you're more comfortable, close to home. You have access to newly approved drugs and innovative therapies that are available through clinical trials. Our attention to your needs before, during and after treatments helps you have an individualized experience. Explore chemotherapy treatments.
  • Radiation therapy
    Our radiation therapy team has expertise in most types of radiation therapy to treat cancer throughout the body. We will work closely with your cancer specialists to create an appropriate treatment plan for your needs. Explore radiation therapy.
  • Clinical trials
    Research at Nuvance Health furthers our understanding of pancreatic cancer and paves the way for new treatments. Eligible patients may have the opportunity to be a part of these efforts through clinical trials. We lead trials offering access to new therapies, sometimes years before they’re widely available. Learn more about cancer clinical trials and pancreatic cancer research.
  • Access to Multidisciplinary tumor board
    Case presentation at our Multidisciplinary tumor board for treatment recommendations from a panel of experts.
  • Genetic testing
    Genetic testing can help to determine if there are hereditary factors that predisposed to the cancer (such as inherited BRCA2 gene mutation).
  • Genomic profiling
    Genomic profiling of the tumor specimen to determine treatment with novel targeted therapies or immunotherapy.

What is pancreatic cancer?

Your pancreas is a gland deep within your digestive organs that produces chemical messengers, such as enzymes and hormones. These substances help your digestive system break down food so you can absorb the nutrients. Cancer occurs when abnormal cells develop in the pancreas and start growing out of control.

Some people experience pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. These rare abnormal growths occur in hormone-making cells and may or may not be cancerous. The pancreas is one of the more common sites for neuroendocrine tumors, but they can occur anywhere in the body.
Pancreatic Cancer Awareness

care coordination and support services

Pancreatic cancer typically requires many tests and a care plan with complex treatments. The nurse navigator helps coordinate appointments and lets you know what to expect, so you can focus on feeling better.

Cancer and treatment side effects can affect the way you feel as well as your peace of mind. Assistance from cancer dietitians, financial navigators and social workers may relieve some of these worries.

Find out more about cancer supportive care
Cancer Support

Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

  • Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms

    In the early stages, many people do not know they have pancreatic cancer. Symptoms such as tiredness or mild digestive issues can be easy to ignore. As the cancer grows, you may experience:

    • A new and unexpected diabetes diagnosis
    • Abnormal stools that are gray, oily or watery
    • Jaundice, which causes yellowing of the skin or eyes and is a sign of liver problems
    • Pain, especially in your stomach or upper back
    • Unexpected weight loss
  • Diagnosing Pancreatic Cancer

    Tests to assess symptoms and diagnose pancreatic cancer may include:

    • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): To access the pancreas, we slide a long tube, an endoscope, down your throat past the upper digestive system. A camera and instruments at the tip of the endoscope help us evaluate suspicious growths. The procedure may include taking a tissue sample if necessary.
    • Imaging studies: Tests including computed tomography (CT) scans and endoscopic ultrasound help us determine the size, shape and location of the cancer.
  • Pancreatic Cancer Treatment 

    Your care may start with genomic testing to check for specific changes in cancer cell genes. This information helps us determine the right treatments for your diagnosis. Treatments include: 
    • Surgery: The Whipple procedure is for cancer in the front wide part (the head) of the pancreas. Distal pancreatectomy is for cancers at the body or tail of the pancreas.
    • Non-surgical procedures: If the cancer is too advanced for surgery, you may still have options. Interventional radiologists use real-time imaging and narrow tubes with instruments at the tip to help treat certain symptoms. These procedures open up blockages or use focused heat (ablation) to prevent cancer from growing.
    • Medical oncology: You may receive chemotherapy (drugs that attack cancer cells) or other medical treatments such as targeted therapy to shrink the tumor. Read more about chemotherapy and other medical oncology.
    • Radiation therapy: This option uses high-energy waves to break up cancer cells while protecting nearby healthy tissue. Get more information about radiation therapy.

Clinical Trials and Research

Research at Nuvance Health furthers our understanding of pancreatic cancer and paves the way for new treatments. Eligible patients may have the opportunity to be a part of these efforts through clinical trials. We lead trials offering access to new therapies, sometimes years before they’re widely available.

Learn more about cancer clinical trials and pancreatic cancer research.
researchers look at test tubes