Pancreatic Cancer Treatment: What You Need to Know
- Surgery is available to about 20 percent of pancreatic cancer patients as a potentially curative method. Other patients may experience pain relief from certain surgical procedures.
- Radiation therapy uses high-energy waves or particles to treat pancreatic cancer. Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) may be used to treat early-stage pancreatic cancer when surgery is not an option.
- Clinical studies are being conducted to assess a novel vaccine designed to kill pancreatic cancer cells.
- Several effective pain management options, including pharmacological and complementary techniques, are available to help maximize your comfort and maintain your quality of life.
Specific treatment for pancreatic cancer will be determined by your doctor based on:
- Your age, overall health and medical history
- Location and extent of the disease
- Type of cancer
- Your tolerance of specific medicines, procedures or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the disease
- Your opinion or preference
Surgery may be used to remove tumors, all or part of the pancreas and sections of other organs. Your surgeon will make recommendations based on the cancer stage as well as the location and size of the tumor.
Learn more about pancreatic cancer surgery.
Chemotherapy uses powerful medications to kill pancreatic cancer cells. It may be given alone or in conjunction with radiation therapy or surgery. Several side effects may occur during treatment.
Learn more chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer.
Radiation therapy uses focused, high-energy waves or particles to attack tumor cells. Modern radiation machines target the primary tumor while limiting radiation exposure to healthy adjacent tissue.
Learn more pancreatic cancer radiation therapy.
As one of the most important aspects of cancer care, pain management combines aggressive therapy with continual assessments to ensure that patients can maintain their quality of life.
Learn more about pancreatic cancer pain management.
Our Approach to Pancreatic Cancer
Johns Hopkins pancreatic surgeons perform a variety of innovative techniques to treat pancreatic cancer, including operations using both traditional open methods and minimally invasive methods. During one appointment at our multidisciplinary clinic, patients will meet with experienced specialists who will care for them at every stage of the journey.
Learn more about Johns Hopkins’ Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Program.
More Information About Pancreatic Cancer in the Health Library