There are many types of pancreatic cancer treatment, including radiation therapy, surgery, and chemotherapy. Listed below are some of the most common treatment methods for pancreatic cancer. Read on to learn more. This article covers surgery, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy. To get the most comprehensive care possible, patients should consider a combination of therapies. Surgery can remove cancer cells from the pancreas, leaving only healthy tissue. Chemotherapy and radiation must be used together to treat stage 3 and stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
During the surgery, surgeons remove all the cancerous tissue around the tumor's margins. Surgeons and pathologists work together to evaluate these margins in real-time. The pathologist's assessment helps the surgical team find the remaining cancer cells. Sometimes additional tissue is needed to remove cancer. Although surgery can remove most cancerous cells, some may not be removed completely. Patients undergoing surgery for pancreatic cancer should know all the risks and benefits of the procedure.
After the surgery, patients will need to take several medications to recover. The most common of these medications are ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Patients with the latter type of cancer may require several years of medication to compensate for the surgery. However, patients with the former type of cancer may need more than one surgery to remove the tumor. The recovery period for this type of surgery is generally much shorter than for patients undergoing the latter type.
If you have pancreatic cancer, your doctor will likely prescribe different types of treatment based on the stage of your cancer and other factors. Before your doctor begins your treatment, discuss your goals and ask questions about the treatments. A shared decision-making process is essential during this time. The goals of treatment should be the same for you and your doctor. Ask your doctor to refer you to a specialist in case of disagreements.
Most chemotherapy drugs are given as liquids through a drip or tablet. The doctor may also administer chemotherapy through a tube implanted into your vein. This is done to avoid damaging your veins while undergoing treatment. During treatment, your medical oncologist will monitor your health to determine whether chemotherapy kills cancer cells. You may also receive other medicines, such as anti-HIV drugs, through this tube.
The multidisciplinary team may opt for radiation therapy when a patient has early-stage pancreatic cancer. Radiation oncologists help determine the best treatment for each patient and are integral to the overall treatment plan. Depending on the tumor size, surrounding structures, and timing, this therapy may be valuable to the patient's overall health. In addition, this type of treatment can improve local control, breathing motion, and overall survival.
In addition to radiation therapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy may also be used to treat pancreatic cancer. These treatments usually use drugs that boost the body's defenses against cancer. Anti-PD-1 antibodies and immune checkpoint inhibitors (such as anti-PD-1 antibodies) are the immunotherapy drugs used for pancreatic cancer. Immunotherapy is particularly useful for pancreatic cancer patients with high MSI. Emerging clinical trials are now studying the use of immunotherapy for pancreatic cancer.
Immunotherapy for pancreatic cancer is a novel concept based on progressing knowledge of the immune system. It involves targeting and stimulating dendritic cells (DCs), which are powerful tumor antigen-presenting cells and perform some immunoregulatory functions. Previous studies have demonstrated that DCs can induce a powerful T cell response against pancreatic cancer cells, but many factors are involved in generating DCs. Inactivation or depletion of DCs could allow tumors to escape immune surveillance.
In a multicenter randomized phase II study, immunotherapeutic methods used to stimulate tumor-specific T cells were found to improve prognosis and patient immune responses. SVN-2B plus interferon-b (IFNb) was used in Step I to stimulate the immune system. In Step II, patients received four SVN-2B injections and immunosuppressive drugs. The primary endpoint of this trial was progression-free survival after Step I.