Learn the Facts about Pancreatic Cancer—Be empowered
When facing a pancreatic cancer diagnosis, the facts, statistics and treatment options may overwhelm or frighten you and your family. Empower yourself by learning the facts and choosing a medical team you can trust.
Dr. Douglas Evans, a premier pancreatic cancer expert, discusses his approach to aiding a newly diagnosed patient in taking the critical first steps toward remission.
DOUGLAS B. EVANS, MD
Douglas B. Evans, MD, is the Donald C. Ausman Family Foundation Professor of Surgery and Chair of the Department of Surgery at The Medical College of Wisconsin.
Learn about Pancreatic Cancer
Stages and early detection mean everything in the battle against cancer. But because there are no single, specific tests that can affordably and reliably diagnose early-stage pancreatic cancer, very often the disease has already spread from the pancreas to other parts of the body.
This is precisely why the battle is both scary, but winnable. Urgency in early detection, but also urgency in finding improved treatment options and ensuring broader access to clinical trials are the keys to making significant progress.
Frightening? Yes. Hopeless? Never.
The pancreas, an approximately six-inch long gland, is located in the abdomen. It is responsible for aiding in digestion and regulating blood sugar. The exocrine cells of the pancreas create enzymes that help digest food, while the endocrine cells produce both insulin and glucagon hormones that manage the amount of sugar in the blood.
Recognizing symptoms of pancreatic cancer is critical, and sadly, often missed until the disease has progressed to later stages when surgery is no longer an option. We urge you to be your own best advocate and visit with your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: pain in the back or abdomen, loss of appetite, nausea, change in stool, weight loss, jaundice, pancreatitis and newly diagnosed diabetes.
When facing a pancreatic cancer diagnosis, we suggest you consult with medical teams experienced in treating this particular disease. Patients are sometimes told that surgery is not a viable option when in reality, it is. Treatment options may include: surgery (Whipple procedure), clinical trials, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy and personalized regimens developed from the molecular profile of the tumor.