ProHealth Care’s pancreatic cancer program is a joint effort with UW Health. The multidisciplinary teams consist of experienced radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, nurse practitioners, nurses, research staff, counseling support, dietitians and social workers. Team members meet weekly to discuss patient cases and develop individualized treatment plans.
ProHealth Care offers a range of state-of-the-art medical treatment options for management of pancreatic cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be offered prior to or after surgery or recommended alone if surgery is not an option.
We provide on-site and coordinated access to all contemporary diagnostic testing, including computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. Also available are:
ERCP: A flexible tube, or endoscope, is passed through the mouth, esophagus and stomach into the first portion of the small intestine (duodenum). Dye is injected through the tube into the pancreatic and biliary ducts and an x-ray is taken. The procedure can be done for biopsy, insertion of drains or to remove stones. This is done with mild sedation. The acronym stands for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography.
EUS: Endoscopic ultrasound makes use of a thin flexible tube, or endoscope, with ultrasound tip. It is passed through the mouth and into the esophagus, stomach and upper part of small bowel. It uses high frequency sound waves to produce images of organs and structures.
Chemotherapy: The use of drug therapy to kill cancer cells. It may be administered before surgery, after surgery, in conjunction with radiation therapy or as a single treatment.
Whipple: This surgical procedure is performed most often for tumors located in the head of the pancreas that are malignant, though occasionally for benign tumors as well. It involves removal of the head of the pancreas, the duodenum (which is the first piece of the small intestine), part of the bile duct (which is the pipe that drains bile from the liver into the bowel), the surrounding lymph nodes, the gallbladder and sometimes part of the stomach. Pancreatic resections of the tail involve removing the left part of the pancreas and sometimes require removing the spleen. (The blood vessels that supply the spleen run through the pancreas and, depending on location and type of tumor, the spleen may need to be removed.)
IMRT: Conventional and intensity modulated radiation therapy uses a computer to aim radiation at the tumor from outside the body, killing cancer cells over time. Radiation is administered according to the tumor size, shape and location. The intensity of the beams can be adjusted as needed to match the exact geometric shape of the tumor, minimizing damage to surrounding tissue. Generally, five treatments are required per week for a period of five to six weeks. The treatments cause no pain and last only a few minutes each.