What You Should Know About the 2 Types of Pancreas Cancer Surgery
A pancreatic cancer diagnosis is usually followed by surgery. Of course, if you’ve been diagnosed with this terrible disease, then you likely already know this, as well as the other grim statistics surrounding cancer of the pancreas.
Many people know that cancer of the pancreas is a very deadly disease, but one of the most common myths is that there’s no way to treat this disease. In fact, there are two common types of pancreas surgery that are regularly used after a diagnosis.
Today, pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in men and the eighth most common type of cancer in women overall. Every year, about 24,840 men and 24,120 women will be diagnosed with this deadly disease, but many of them will be successfully treated by a pancreatic surgeon.
So why does cancer of the pancreas have such a morbid reputation? Sadly, most people are only diagnosed with this disease after the tumor has gone malignant and is no longer treatable by pancreatic surgery. On the other hand, the tumors that come with color cancer are often confined to a portion of the intestines, and so they can be more easily removed with colon surgery. But by the time pancreas tumors are found, it is too late to operate.
Even so, that doesn’t mean the situation is hopeless. Even large tumors have been treated with pancreas surgery; tumors bigger than 4 to 5 cm have been cured by pancreatic surgeons in the United States. And when pancreatic cancer is detected early enough for pancreas surgery, there is a five-year survival rate of 26%.
According to the American Cancer Society, there are two common types of surgery that are often recommended for pancreas cancer patients: palliative surgery and potentially curative surgery.
As with other types of cancer, the potentially curative pancreas surgery is a form of resection surgery, where surgeons attempt to remove the tumors completely. When this isn’t possible, pancreatic surgeons will instead attempt a palliative surgery, which seeks to remove a portion of the tumor to improve the patient’s quality of life.
So while pancreatic cancer deserves its fearsome reputation, that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless. Talk to your doctor about all of your options as soon as possible.