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Pancreatic Cancer

ABOUT PANCREATIC CANCER

The American Cancer Society estimates that each year, more than 50,000 people (27,970 men and 25,700 women) in the U.S. are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and that more than 40,000 Americans (22,300 men and 20,790 women) will die from it. Pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancer diagnoses and about 7% of all cancer deaths.

Cancer occurs in the pancreas when its cells grow out of control. The approximately 6-inch-long and 2-inch-wide pancreas begins on the right side of the body behind where the stomach meets the first part of the small intestine, goes behind the stomach, and continues on the left side of the body next to the spleen. Depending on the type and stage of pancreatic cancer, treatment options can include surgery, ablation or embolization treatments, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy and other drugs.

DISEASE SITE TEAM

Disease site teams, or multidisciplinary care teams, are specialists from each diagnostic, treatment and supportive care discipline working together in the same facility where state-of-the-art cancer treatment is given, and relevant research is conducted.

ADVANCED TREATMENT

The Cancer Center offers Louisiana’s first high-risk pancreatic cancer screening program, created specifically for individuals with a risk of developing the disease. Patients participating in this clinic are monitored to detect pancreatic cancer in its earliest stage. If early-stage pancreatic cancer is found, surgery can be performed to remove the cancer, which greatly increases the chances for an enhanced outcomes. Patients without signs of cancer are scheduled for follow-up screenings at the clinic and monitored closely. All patients with certain risk factors are encouraged to get screened. Individuals who believe they may fit the criteria of the Cancer Center’s high-risk pancreatic program may call (225) 769-5656.

RISK FACTORS

Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include smoking, obesity, or a personal and/or family history of diabetes or chronic pancreatitis. Please talk to your doctor about any personal risk factors you may have, including any prior conditions you or someone in your immediate family has had.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer are often are not present in early stages and are hard to detect. Some possible signs of pancreatic cancer may include: yellowing of the skin, light-colored stools, dark urine, unexplained pain in the upper or middle stomach and back areas, unexplained weight loss, unexplained loss of appetite, and unexplained fatigue. If you experience any of these symptoms, please talk to your doctor.

SCREENINGS

Talk to your doctor about how often you should be screened for pancreatic cancer.

CLINICAL TRIALS

Clinical trials are research studies that involve human beings in order to test new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose or treat diseases. A drug must be part of a clinical trial before the FDA will approve it to be put on the market. Oncology clinical trials are conducted in order to test new drugs or a new combination of drug treatments, new surgery and radiation therapies and new medical devices.

Every cancer center patient is evaluated for participation in a clinical trial. Those who meet the criteria to participate in clinical research receive a standard of care treatment, but with the added benefit of a trial that may enhance their outcomes.

If interested in volunteering to participate in a clinical research trial, or if you have concerns about the conduct of clinical research, please contact the Clinical Research office at (225) 215-1353, or by email at clinicalresearch@marybird.com.

There are currently no active pancreatic clinical trials. Please check back as we are continuously opening new studies.