Duke Cancer Institute surgeons perform high volumes of major cancer procedures.
Surgery may be used to remove the cancer or, in advanced cases in which the cancer cannot be completely removed, to open up blockages to reduce symptoms. Surgery is commonly combined with other treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation.
The type of surgery you receive will depend on the location, stage, and size of the tumor.
For tumors in the widest part of the pancreas (the head), a pancreaticoduodenectomy, also known as the Whipple procedure, is often the recommended treatment. The Duke Cancer Institute offers laparoscopic (minimally invasive) and open pancreaticoduodenectomies.
During this procedure the surgeon removes the head of the pancreas and part of the stomach, bile duct, and small intestine. The surgeon may also take out some nearby tissue to ensure that all cancer cells have been removed.
For tumors in other parts of the pancreas, a distal or total pancreatectomy may be recommended. Distal pancreatectomies are typically performed laparoscopically while total pancreatectomies are an open surgical procedure.
In a distal pancreatectomy the surgeon will remove the affected part of the pancreas and the spleen. Total pancreatectomy is the removal of the entire pancreas, gallbladder, bile duct, and spleen, as well as part of the stomach and small intestine.
Other surgical procedures used to treat pancreatic cancer include:
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