Do you remember the last time you received truly excellent medical care? Although it isn't always a common thing to find, you can have better luck by doing what you can to research different doctors and medical clinics. I wanted to share this website with the world, since this is what I have been doing for years. It has been a really excellent journey to find different ways to keep great care of myself, and I know that it is all due to the help of my great doctor. Read more about self care on this blog, so that you don't have to settle for anything less than the best.
Although any cancer diagnosis can be cause for distress, pancreatic cancer is among the cancer diagnoses that may be especially alarming. With advances in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, more patients can be hopeful about their prognosis.
Surgery to treat pancreatic cancer is complex because of the function of the pancreas, and often the surrounding organs need to be partially or completely removed. Additionally, your doctor will not suggest surgery unless they believe the cancer is confined to the pancreas and can be completely removed. If your doctor suggests surgery, it is important to be mentally prepared for the procedure and explore your options regarding the surgeon who will perform the procedure and the hospital. To reduce your risk of life-threatening complications, you will want to find a surgeon and hospital that specializes in this type of surgery and performs the procedure often.
As far as becoming mentally prepared for the surgery, your diet and medications may change indefinitely. You may become insulin-dependent if a significant part of your pancreas is removed and you may need to take medications to help you digest food. Some people may need part of their digestive system removed, which can mean they will not be able to eat as much or their small intestines will not absorb as many calories and nutrients from their food. Generally, when surgery is performed for pancreatic cancer, the hope is the procedure will cure the disease. You must also be prepared for the possibility that all the cancer cannot be removed even after starting surgery.
Radiation therapy is frequently used in pancreatic cancer, even after surgery, to treat the cancer. This is a form of targeted treatment that can help destroy cancer cells with less involvement of the surrounding tissues. Before you have your first treatment, you will need to visit the treatment center to have extensive measurements. This usually involves lying in a specific position and not moving so technicians can determine the best placement for radiation. When you come back for treatment, the technicians will have you lie in the same position and they may use foam or other tools to help you remain still throughout the treatment.
The machines used for emitting the radiation rely on exact measurements to ensure radiation is delivered to the proper location and to minimize the chance of other tissues being affected by the treatment. Although setting up for the treatment can be lengthy, the actual treatment is generally short and the technicians may play music for you to help the process go by faster. Everyone has a different treatment schedule and you may need to have treatments several days each week for many weeks. At the end of your treatment, your doctors will likely request tests, such as positron emission tomography (PET) to determine if there are remaining cancer cells. The results of the PET scan will usually dictate the next step in your treatment.
A newer treatment option called the NanoKnife is an option for people with pancreatic cancer that would normally be unable to have surgery. In some cases, the tumor may be inoperable because it is too close to major blood vessels or is impossible to reach safely. Additionally, the age and condition of the patient might make a major surgery risky. Since NanoKnife can be performed without a major incision, this reduces many of the risks associated with surgery, such as blood loss, infection, and the use of general anesthesia. The procedure specifically targets the abnormal cells while leaving normal pancreas cells intact, thereby reducing the likelihood of unnecessary damage to healthy cells. Another advantage of using NanoKnife is the procedure can be repeated when needed. In some cases, enough the cancerous cells may not have been eliminated during the first procedure or the cancerous tumor may return later. Talk to a place like ATLAS ONCOLOGY to see if this procedure would work for you.
There are a variety of treatment options available for people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, even at latter stages of the disease. Often a combination of treatments will give patients the best chance at effectiveness.