Pancreatic Cancer Treatment and Surgery
Several reports have shown that outcomes for pancreatic cancer are best when patients are cared for at high-volume centers. Mount Sinai's surgical oncologists are experienced pancreatic cancer surgeons who have significant experience treating this type of cancer. Every patient with a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is presented at our interdepartmental tumor board to incorporate treatment recommendations from our colleagues in medical oncology, radiation oncology, and advanced gastroenterology.
Surgeons use several different techniques to remove pancreatic tumors.
- Distal pancreatectomy: This procedure removes the body and tail of the pancreas. It often involves removing the spleen as well, depending on the exact tumor location. Mount Sinai is a leader in performing this procedure laparoscopically, which results in a shorter hospital stay, less post-operative pain, and minimal scarring.
- Whipple procedure or pancreaticoduodenectomy: In this procedure, the surgeon removes the head of the pancreas and the other attached organs, including part of the stomach, the gallbladder, and the common bile duct. The procedure leaves enough pancreas to maintain production of insulin and digestive enzymes. Our surgeons favor leaving the entire stomach (pylorus-preserving pancreaticoduodenectomy) when this does not compromise tumor removal.
- Total pancreatectomy: This procedure can be required when the tumor is located in multiple sites or involves the entire pancreas. The surgeon removes the entire pancreas, the common bile duct, and nearby lymph nodes. After this procedure, we work closely with colleagues in Endocrinology to ensure proper replacement of insulin and the pancreatic enzymes.
- Irreversible electroporation (IRE): This new technology is used to destroy cancerous tumors using short electrical pulses. The main advantage of IRE is that it does not rely on thermal energy for its effect, and so it can be safely performed on tumors that are near critical structures without the risk of heat-induced damage. IRE has been successfully used in several tumor types, but it is particularly valuable in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, since this tumor can be resistant to chemotherapy and other modes of therapy.
- Palliative procedures: If the cancer has spread and surgeons cannot remove it, several treatments can help relieve symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer. We also work closely with Pain Management Services and Palliative Care Services so as to provide the most complete care and ensure quality of life.
Mount Sinai Surgical Associates
Division of Surgical Oncology
1470 Madison Ave, 3rd Fl
New York, NY 10029