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Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute



 
Read the Oncology Program Annual Report 2013
 

Pancreatic Cancer Program

Cancer of the pancreas is not common—representing only about 3 percent of new cancer cases in men and women each year—but it is a significant cause of cancer-related illness and death in the United States. In order to provide quality care for individuals with pancreatic cancer, Lancaster General Health has partnered with Penn Medicine to offer consultations by a world-renowned team of surgical specialists. These surgeons work closely with your primary care physician and gastroenterologist to diagnose and treat the disease.

We offer a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach, including gastrointestinal tumor board reviews, to promote the best possible outcome.
 

About Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is cancer that develops within the pancreas, the gland about six inches long that is responsible for making hormones, including the enzymes responsible for the digestion of food and control of blood sugar.

Pancreatic cancer develops when cells within the pancreas begin to grow out of control. It may spread, or metastasize, to nearby lymph nodes and organs such as the liver and lungs.


Reducing risk factors

Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Family History
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Obesity
  • Age

LG Health participates in public education and community outreach to help individuals address these modifiable risk factors. True familial pancreatic cancer is rare. For individuals with a clear pattern of gastrointestinal cancer among close relatives, we offer counseling and genetic screening through our participation in Penn’s Cancer Risk Evaluation Program.


Quality in detection and diagnosis

Your gastroenterologist plays a key role in evaluating symptoms. Testing begins with a computed tomography (CT) scan, with a specific pancreatic screening protocol in place at all LG Health radiology locations. Diagnosis is confirmed with a biopsy or at the time of surgery. The clinical team includes specialized pathologists who identify the type and origin of the tumor.


An experienced surgical team

Surgery remains the most important first step in achieving the best outcomes in pancreatic cancer management. Our multidisciplinary team follows evidence-based National Comprehensive Cancer Network® guidelines in determining the resectability—that is, whether the tumor can be removed surgically. LG Health general surgeons may perform a staging laparoscopic exam to determine the extent or the spread of the tumor. If further surgery is an option, our surgeons work with highly specialized and experienced surgeons from Penn Medicine to complete the resection at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Depending on the location of the tumor, the team may perform:

  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy, also called a Whipple procedure, to treat the cancer by removing the head and sometimes the body of the pancreas, part of the stomach, small intestine, lymph nodes near the pancreas, the gallbladder and part of the bile duct.
  • Distal, or partial, pancreatectomy, to treat the cancer by removing the tail or body of the pancreas and the spleen.
  • Total pancreatectomy, to treat the cancer by removing the entire pancreas.
  • Gastrojejunostomy, to limit side effects such as nausea or vomiting by connecting the stomach directly to the small bowel, bypassing the duodenum
  • Image-guided celiac plexus block, an interventional radiology procedure to reduce pain

 

A coordinated team of specialists

From prevention, to early detection and diagnosis, through treatment and recovery, you are in the hands of a strong team of professionals who are focused on fighting pancreatic cancer. Your treatment team may include:

  • Gastroenterologists
  • Primary care physicians
  • Medical oncologists specializing in gastrointestinal cancers
  • General surgeons
  • Hepatopancreatobiliary surgeons
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Interventional radiologists
  • Nurse navigators
  • Social workers
  • Behavioral counselors

 

Comprehensive scope of treatment options

In addition to surgery, treatment may also include medication and/or radiation. LG Health offers access to a full range of advanced therapies, including:

A member of the Penn Cancer Network

We are also a member of the Penn Cancer Network, a select group of hospitals recognized for excellence in patient care and commitment to improving community health. This affiliation with Penn means you can receive the majority of your care locally. It also gives you access to national clinical trials, as well as to Penn specialists who participate in our tumor board and provide pre- and/or post-operative consultations at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute in person or via videoconferencing.
 

Exceptional support

At Lancaster General Health, our goal is to keep you healthy. If you are facing a potential or confirmed diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancer, you’ll appreciate the support available to you, including:

  • Nurse navigators who provide valuable assistance throughout your journey
  • Supportive services, including home care and help with special needs
  • Survivorship programs to maintain optimal health and wellness 


 
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