Surgery to Treat Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms

Pancreatic cancer is one of the more common forms of cancer. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer also has a very high mortality rate, even amongst those who have managed to catch it early. Pancreatic cancer is usually not caught very early because the symptoms can be easily overlooked or confused for other, more mundane symptoms. Treatment of pancreatic cancer includes chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.

Resection Surgery to Treat Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms

Resection is surgery to treat pancreatic cancer symptoms by removing the cancer itself.  If it is possible to have this kind of surgery, the outlook is quite good as it could potentially remove the entire tumour and cure the cancer.  However, it is only possible to have resection surgery to treat pancreatic cancer symptoms in the early stages of pancreatic cancer.

It is important to remember that resection surgery to treat pancreatic cancer symptoms is major surgery.  This type of operation is called a Whipple’s operation and can be either a full removal or a partial removal of the cancer.  In the case of a partial removal, the cancer will obviously remain and the surgery is only helpful in slowing down the process of cancer growth.

Following Whipple’s surgery to treat pancreatic cancer symptoms, you are likely to remain in intensive care for a while, attached to a variety of drips and drains and be administered some strong pain relief medicines.  Following your surgery, you will also be required to have enzyme and insulin replacement therapy, as an injured pancreas will not produce insulin.  In essence, you will be diabetic until the remaining part of the pancreas starts to function again.

Relief Surgery to Treat Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms

Surgery to treat pancreatic cancer symptoms can also be used to offer relief of symptoms.  It can help in treating a blocked bowel, which causes tremendous discomfort, for example, or a blocked bile duct, which is the main cause of jaundice in pancreatic cancer sufferers.

Stents Surgery to Treat Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms

Stents are used once pancreatic cancer starts to block the bowels, making relief impossible for those who suffer from the cancer.  A stent is a piece of plastic tubing that is inserted in the bowel or into the bile duct, depending on what is being blocked by the cancer, and assists in holding it open.  Generally, a stent is administered under local anaesthetic, meaning you will not require to be hospitalised.

Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer is rarely cured by surgery, and surgery as an attempt to cure the cancer can only be offered if it is caught very early.  However, surgery can certainly help to prolong the life of those who have been diagnosed, as well as being able to provide relief from jaundice and abdominal pain by removing blockages in the bile ducts and bowels.  If you are lucky enough to have caught pancreatic cancer early enough for surgery, it is important to remember that this will involve major and complicated surgery and that many complications can occur that could potentially affect the overall quality of your life.

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