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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Palliative procedures for pancreatic cancer

Palliative procedures for pancreatic cancer

In addition to providing surgical procedures for patients with resectable tumors, such as the Whipple procedure or distal pancreatectomy, our surgical oncologists, interventional radiologists, gastroenterologists, and radiation oncologists may also perform a variety of palliative procedures.

Biliary bypass, endoscopic stent placement, gastric bypass, and percutaneous biliary drainage can help relieve jaundice, itching (pruritus) and other conditions associated with pancreatic cancer.

Also, some pancreatic cancer patients experience ascites (abnormal build-up of fluid in the abdomen), which can be very uncomfortable. Our surgical oncologists and interventional radiologists can insert catheters to control this condition, and help you feel more comfortable so that you can regain your appetite and stay nutritionally fortified.

For obstruction between the stomach and small intestine, which sometimes happens with pancreatic cancer, our gastroenterologists can often perform "percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy" (PEG) tube placement, which is a tube placed in the stomach through which you can receive nutrition through your GI tract. In some cases, a bypass tube, called a stent, can also be placed by the gastroenterologist, to bypass the area of obstruction between the stomach and the small intestine.

For tumor-associated abdominal pain, our gastroenterologists, interventional radiologists or pain management specialists can provide injections into the nerves in the back of the abdomen that cause pain, to relieve tumor-associated discomfort.

What are palliative procedures?

If surgery to remove the entire tumor is not possible, or if you experience biliary obstruction or other complications, our doctors can provide palliative procedures. Palliative surgery can help you experience a better quality of life, prevent treatment interruptions and reduce liver damage.