Pancreatic Cancer (cont.)
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Pancreatic Cancer Surgery
The treatment of pancreatic cancer depends on whether complete surgical removal of the cancer is possible. Complete surgical removal of the cancer is the only known cure for pancreatic cancer. Only 15% to 20% of people with pancreatic cancer have disease that can be surgically removed at the time of diagnosis.
Pancreatic cancer that is localized and may be completely removed is considered resectable. If all the cancer could not be removed with surgery or if a surgery would not be safe to perform, then the cancer is considered unresectable.
The features of unresectable pancreatic cancer include the following:
If the cancer is resectable and if no other health issues exist that make the surgery unsafe, then a surgeon attempts to remove the cancer.
These are major surgeries with the risk of both intra-operative and postoperative complications. Mortality rates are lower if the surgery is performed in a center where a lot of pancreatic surgeries are performed. Centers that have a low volume of pancreatic surgeries can produce as high as a 10% to 15% mortality rate. Those centers with a high volume of pancreatic surgeries may produce as low as a 2% mortality rate.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/29/2016
Timothy Kuo, MD
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