Treatment Options for Pancreatic Cancer

Our team raises the standards of care and treatment for patients with pancreatic cancer. We treat a high volume of pancreatic cancer patients, and our surgeons perform more than 100 pancreatic cancer surgeries each year. All pancreatic surgical operations are available at our center, including the full range of minimally invasive (laparoscopic or robotic) surgeries such as the robotic Whipple.

With the results of your diagnostic tests and assigned cancer stage, our specialists from both Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women’s — including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and surgical oncologists — will work closely together to develop a personalized treatment plan that works best for your cancer. We will ensure coordinated care, carefully monitoring and treating your cancer as well as helping to provide relief for your symptoms.

We want you to feel like you are an active participant in your care. Please talk to your care team about your treatment goals. Learn treatment-related questions to ask during your healthcare appointments. Our team works at the Dana-Farber and Brigham campuses in Boston, as well as locations in the surrounding community, and your appointments may be at any of these locations. Any surgery that is needed will be on the Brigham campus, and most radiation is done at the Brigham, as well.

Treatment options and the length of treatment vary from patient to patient. Treatment commonly involves surgery and chemotherapy, with or without radiation. A patient with Stage 1 or Stage 2 pancreatic cancer may experience a treatment sequence such as four months of chemotherapy followed by surgery a month later and then two more months of chemotherapy.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

If you are not eligible for surgery, our team will work with you on non-surgical treatment options, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and clinical trials, in addition to treatments for any symptoms you may have. Your care team will work to control the spread of your cancer and manage your symptoms.

Surgical Treatment Options

Surgery, in combination with chemotherapy, provides the best chance at curing pancreatic tumors. Although approximately 20 percent of pancreatic cancer patients may be eligible for surgery upon initial diagnosis, many more patients may become eligible after undergoing chemotherapy.

Learn more about pancreatic cancer surgery.

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