Your pancreas is an organ deep within the gastrointestinal system that produces digestive enzymes and hormones like insulin. Pancreatic cancer occurs when cells grow out of control, forming a tumor. This cancer type is challenging to treat. But, at Memorial Cancer Institute, you’ll find dedicated experts who use leading methods to help you feel better. Pancreatic cancer types we treat include adenocarcinoma (most common) and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NET).
Our team delivers advanced therapies that are not widely available in South Florida. We offer a depth of experience leading to excellent outcomes. You also benefit from individual and family support services that help you have a more comfortable experience.
Diagnosing Pancreatic Cancer
ERCP and endoscopic ultrasound are the primary tests for diagnosing pancreatic cancer. During these procedures, we may take a tissue sample. Doctors who specialize in diagnosing cancer (pathologists) evaluate the sample under a microscope. Our team includes pathologists with a depth of pancreatic cancer experience, leading to an accurate diagnosis.
We may perform genetic and mutation testing to learn more about the makeup of the tumor, including specific genes and proteins. This information lets us know whether certain medical treatments, like targeted therapy, will work. Find out more about cancer genetics.
Pancreatic Cancer Treatments and Support
We treat pancreas cancer with a combination of therapies, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Our expert team tailors therapies to your needs. We consider all your options and recommend the treatments that might benefit you the most.
We may recommend medical oncology services, like chemotherapy or radiation oncology, to shrink the tumor before surgery. Receiving these treatments after surgery may reduce the likelihood of the cancer returning. If you are not eligible for surgery, NanoKnife® may be an option. This treatment delivers focused electrical currents that destroy cancer cells.
Pancreatic cancer often comes with nagging symptoms that make you feel sick, even when treatments work as they should. We continue caring for you by delivering a range of therapies that provide symptom relief.
Supportive Therapies and Services for Pancreatic Cancer
Cancer support services can ease some of the worry and discomfort you may be experiencing. We offer nutrition counseling, emotional support and integrative therapies like massage and acupuncture. Specially trained nurses (patient navigators) are by your side throughout treatment, helping you access the care you need.
Pancreatic Cancer Care: Why Choose Memorial Cancer Institute?
Seeing doctors who specialize in pancreatic cancer gives you access to therapies with better chances for healing. This is precisely what you’ll find in our program. Our team offers uncommon expertise, including for rare pancreatic cancer types like neuroendocrine tumors and insulinomas.
Highlights of our program include:
- Skilled collaborative providers: You benefit from the recommendations of surgeons, endoscopists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and pathologists. We work together to develop a personalized care plan. Our coordinated approach helps more people achieve excellent outcomes, even for advanced cancers. Meet our team.
- High-volume complex surgery: We routinely perform the Whipple procedure. It removes part of the pancreas and tissue from nearby organs and is only available in select programs like ours. Surgeons skillfully navigate delicate tissue, delivering this lifesaving treatment with a high degree of precision.
- Options for advanced cancer: We are one of the few programs in the region offering NanoKnife® surgery for pancreatic cancer that cannot be removed. It slows cancer progression using electrical currents and can relieve ongoing pain.
- Screening and early detection: Our screening services determine whether you carry gene mutations linked to pancreatic cancer. If you have the mutation, you receive ongoing monitoring to detect cancer in earlier stages. If you are high risk for pancreas cancer, we offer a comprehensive program that includes the most up-to-date testing available.
- Care for pancreatic cysts: Our expertise also includes diagnosing and treating pre-cancerous pancreatic cysts. Our advanced endoscopy team uses specialized ultrasound at the tip of an endoscope (long thin tube) to diagnose it. You may need surgery to remove a cyst to prevent cancer from developing.