Surgical procedures to remove cancer include:
Whipple’s procedure: In cancers involving the proximal part of the pancreas, a Whipple’s procedure is usually performed. In this, the proximal part of the pancreas along with the adjacent small intestine (duodenum), distal part of the stomach, gall bladder and distal part of the bile duct are removed along with adjacent lymph nodes. Reconstruction is then performed by joining a segment of the small bowel (jejunum) with the remaining part of the pancreas, bile duct and stomach.
Pylorus preserving pancreaticoduodenectomy: This surgery is similar to Whipple’s procedure, except that the distal part of the stomach along with the pylorus (distal-most part of the stomach) is preserved.
Distal Pancreatico-splenectomy: For cancer involving the distal part of the pancreas, a distal Pancreatectomy with or without splenectomy is performed.
Total Pancreatectomy: The removal of the entire pancreas is called Total Pancreatectomy, resulting in the patients requiring lifelong insulin and enzyme replacement.
Chemotherapy - Drugs to treat cancer cells are injected into the body, these drugs have tolerable side effects, and the side effects have been minimized with new forms of chemotherapy drugs with the evolving changes in medical and treatment approaches. Chemotherapy is crucial to contain the cancer cells circulating in the blood.
Bypass surgeries: In some of the advanced cases (stage IV), bypass procedures like gastro-jejunostomy, and hepaticojejunostomy are performed, to bring down jaundice levels, enabling the patient to eat well during treatment.