Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to treat, and it continues to have a high mortality rate. It is best to start treatment as quickly as possible after being diagnosed to have the best prognosis possible. In most cases, pancreatic cancer tumors grow at a slow speed. This allows your team of doctors to devise the best course of action for your specific case.
As soon as your doctor returns with a pancreatic cancer diagnosis, he may refer you to an oncologist. Oncologists are cancer specialists that study how different tumor types form and grow in the body. An oncologist reviews scans, reports and blood work sent by your primary care physician. This helps the oncologist and his team examine tumors visually to devise a proper treatment plan.
Imaging scans are vital in terms of developing a treatment plan. Tumors show up on scans, which allows your team of doctors to see how advanced your cancer is. While some tumors can be recognized as malignant by site, biopsies are often scheduled to receive a definite determination on the type of tumors that are in your body.
Surgery is an option for only about 20 percent of pancreatic cancer patients. Radiation and chemotherapy treatments are likely, as these treatment options are an attempt to shrink and kill the tumors.
Throughout the course of your treatment, frequent blood testing and imaging scans are scheduled to determine your progress. The results of these tests help your medical team see how your body is responding to the treatment. It also helps determine if surgery is an option to rid your body of cancerous tumors.
Receiving a pancreatic cancer diagnosis is shocking, and it can be difficult to know what to do or what to expect. Your team of doctors can guide you through the process and take the most aggressive approach to treat your pancreatic cancer.