A hallmark of the Mount Sinai Health System is its emphasis on translational research and interdisciplinary medicine. This ensures an exceptional environment for cancer patients, who often require clinical care beyond their cancer treatment. Our patients have seamless access to extraordinary care within the Mount Sinai Tisch Cancer Center as well as Mount Sinai’s other highly-ranked medical specialties.
The initial diagnosis and staging process for pancreatic cancer can be overwhelming, given the need for a multi-step work-up and evaluation by several specialists. We believe that providing coordinated and streamlined care that is patient centered and that helps minimize distress is critical.
Our clinic team includes experts from gastroenterology, surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology, and radiology, as well as nutritionists, social workers and genetic counselors. They deliver cutting-edge treatment for pancreatic cancer patients, informed by our extensive translational research program. They collaborate via our Pancreas Tumor Board to identify the optimal treatment strategy for each patient. They also provide extensive supportive care services for patients as well as family members.
Treatment for Localized Pancreatic Cancer
Surgery is a safe, effective, and potentially curable treatment when your tumor is localized and has not spread beyond your pancreas and when the entire tumor can be removed. Mount Sinai pancreatic cancer surgeons have extensive expertise in all major and minor pancreatic operations, and Mount Sinai has all of the latest technology available, allowing the best outcome for your procedure. Some of the most common operations for complete removal of pancreatic tumors include:
- Distal pancreatectomy—removes the center and end of the pancreas, while leaving the head of the pancreas intact. May involve removal of the spleen. We often perform this procedure laparoscopically or robotically, which results in a short hospital stay, minimal scarring, and limited post-operative pain.
- Whipple procedure or pancreaticoduodenectomy—removes the head of the pancreas and attached organs, including part of the stomach, gallbladder, duodenum and common bile duct. The procedure leaves the center and end of the pancreas in place, allowing your pancreas to continue to produce insulin and digestive enzymes.
- Total pancreatectomy—removes the entire pancreas and the common bile duct. After surgery, endocrinology specialists create a plan to help replace insulin and pancreatic enzymes.
Our surgeons are skilled in the latest robotic techniques to perform pancreatic surgery. They also have expertise in performing irreversible electroporation (IRE), a technique that uses electrical pulses to destroy pancreas cancer cells but leave blood vessels intact. IRE is sometimes used when surgical removal is limited due to cancerous involvement of the major local blood vessels.
Depending on your condition, we may recommend radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells and reduce the size of your tumor. We may administer chemotherapy in the form of a pill, infusion, or via a port, to shrink a tumor before surgery or lower the chance of recurrence after surgery.
Treatment for Locally Advanced Pancreas Cancer
Tumors that are locally advanced cannot be safely treated with surgery because they are too close to major blood vessels. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are often used to shrink tumors and control their progression. Our radiation oncologists are pioneering new techniques for eliminating pancreatic tumors, preventing cancer cells from spreading after surgery, and relieving symptoms that can affect quality of life.
Treatment for Metastatic Disease
The Mount Sinai Health System has highly-skilled pancreatic cancer specialists in medical oncology who have extensive experience treating all stages of pancreatic cancer and a keen understanding of metastatic disease. Our depth of experience and knowledge helps ensure the best outcomes for our patients. Our multidisciplinary team approach makes possible a full range of treatments for metastatic disease, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, novel therapeutics, and supportive care options. We are leaders in the development of novel treatments for pancreatic cancer and in identifying multi-drug regimens that may extend survival.