Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer develops when abnormal cells in the pancreas grow out of control. Unlike normal cells, which get worn out and replaced, cancer cells keep multiplying. We offer screening tests using special technology to detect pancreatic cancer in its early stages, when it’s easier to treat.   

The pancreas helps you digest food by producing special chemicals that:

  • Absorb vitamins and nutrients
  • Control blood sugar (glucose) levels, protecting your blood vessels
     

What you should know about pancreatic cancer

  • Early symptoms such as pain and loss of appetite are similar to symptoms of other medical conditions such as gallstones.
  • You may face a higher risk of pancreatic cancer if you are a man, smoke tobacco or have diabetes.  
     

Why choose Geisinger for your pancreatic cancer care?

  • Accurate diagnosis: We offer sophisticated tests, such as endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), to ensure an accurate diagnosis. EUS uses an imaging device we ease down the throat. The device, along with special technology, allows us to examine the pancreas for cancer. EUS is more accurate than other imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans. 
  • Specialized care: Our team includes surgeons who specialize in treating pancreatic cancer. We successfully remove tumors while protecting nearby healthy tissue. This level of specialization lowers your risk for complications. Find out more about cancer surgery
  • Minimally invasive surgery: We perform minimally invasive procedures whenever possible. Minimally invasive techniques, such as robotic surgery, allow our surgeons to operate through tiny incisions and with greater precision than traditional open surgery. You can expect less pain after surgery and a lower risk of complications. Many patients go home the same day. Read more about robotic surgery

Treatment options

Our pancreatic cancer specialists deliver specialized care that’s tailored to meet your medical needs and personal preferences.

  • Ablation : Our doctors use strong energy to destroy tumors, with cold gas freezing them (cryoablation) or microwave radiation heating them (radiofrequency).
  • Chemotherapy : Strong drugs destroy cancer cells, prevent them from spreading or slow their growth.
  • Cancer clinical trials : Get access to potentially life-saving treatments by participating in a national clinical research study.
  • Surgery : Pediatric surgeons remove tumors without harming nearby organs or tissues.
  • Radiation therapy : This treatment uses radiation (X-ray) beams to destroy cancer cells.
  • 3-D conformal radiation therapy (3-D CRT) : We use special technology to position radiation beams so they precisely match irregularly shaped tumors. 
  • Targeted therapy : We deliver high doses of radiation therapy with the help of tiny beads we inject into the tumor.

We're here to help