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Pancreatic Cancer Surgery

Pancreatic Cancer Surgery at North Texas Surgical Specialists

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States and second only to colorectal cancer as a cause of digestive cancer-related death. Surgical resection is the only potentially curative treatment.

We know any cancer diagnosis can be life-threatening, but the odds increase with pancreatic cancer. With a cure rate of less than ten percent, treatment must be multi-disciplinary and timely. With newly refined protocols and techniques, our cancer specialists are seeing better patient outcomes using a less invasive surgical approach, known as a “robotic whipple” (p)ancreaticoduodenectomy. Not only is this approach less invasive and requires smaller incisions, it also ensures faster recovery time for our patients and overall less pain during and after surgery. 

Our surgeons utilize the da Vinci® Si™ Surgical System offering an enhanced 3-D, high-definition vision which allows them to operate in small spaces more accurately and with increased dexterity. Your safety is increased by precise dissection and preservation of crucial nerves and vessels. As a result, complex surgeries can be performed through smaller incisions, with less blood loss and a quicker recovery.

What is the pancreas?

The pancreas is an organ that in the upper part of the abdomen closer to the back.
The organ is vital for proper digestion and the management of blood sugar.

What is pancreatic cancer?

Pancreatic cancer is cancer that begins in the pancreas. Unfortunately, patients won’t notice this cancer in its earlier stages, as it doesn’t cause symptoms during that time. When symptoms do appear, they may include jaundice, loss of appetite, fatigue/malaise, weight loss. Some patients may also experience vague abdominal pain.

How is pancreatic cancer treated?

The specific treatment recommended for patients with pancreatic cancer will depend on the location of the primary tumor and the stage of the disease. Treatment may include surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. We will discuss all of the possible treatment options at the initial consult and formulate a plan that is best for you.

Who is a good candidate for pancreatic cancer surgery?

Every patient is different. Our surgeons can determine whether each individual patient is a good candidate for pancreatic cancer surgery based on the patient’s tumor location, cancer stage and other factors.

What surgical procedures treat pancreatic cancer?

One of the most common procedures used to treat pancreatic cancer is the Whipple procedure. This procedure is appropriate for patients who have a tumor in the head of the pancreas. The surgery involves removing the entire head of the pancreas, gallbladder, part of the bile duct, and the first part of the small intestine. The gastrointestinal and biliary system are then reconstructed.

If the tumor is located in the body or tail of the pancreas, a distal pancreatectomy may be the better option. During this procedure, the body and tail of the pancreas are removed.

Does surgery cure pancreatic cancer?

In cases where the cancer is in very early stages, surgery may be enough to cure pancreatic cancer. However, in many cases, doctors will recommend surgery along with other cancer treatments including chemotherapy and/or radiation. Adding these other treatments increases the effectiveness of surgical treatment and makes a cure more likely.

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