The pancreas is an organ that plays a vital role in your digestive system, producing enzymes to help digest food and hormones to regulate blood sugar. The most common pancreatic cancer is called adenocarcinoma, a disease that remains medically challenging because it’s typically caught late.
At Aurora Health Care, you’ll find a nationally recognized team working to provide the best possible pancreatic cancer care. When our team finds pancreatic cancer in early stages, surgeons provide safe and effective ways to remove it. In other cases, your team offers the latest options to treat the cancer and improve your quality of life. Research continues into new and promising approaches.
Doctors and researchers don’t know exactly why people get pancreatic cancer. They have identified risk factors that can increase your chance of developing the disease:
Pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and related cancers can run in families. Up to 10% of pancreatic cancers are tied to inherited genetic mutations that increase your chance of developing the disease. With genetic factors in mind, Aurora offers you two additional sources of help:
Symptoms of pancreatic cancer often don’t appear until the disease has spread outside the pancreas. These symptoms overlap with those caused by other diseases and can include:
Your doctor usually starts with a complete physical exam and questions about your symptoms, medical history and family. Blood tests evaluate liver function and look for substances tumors typically produce. If doctors find a tumor, they may take a sample of it.
Most people undergo imaging tests, with options that include:
Your team offers a number of approaches to treat pancreatic cancer, often using them in combination. They work with you to determine the best treatments in the best order for you. Treatments include:
When standard treatments no longer work for stage 4 cancer, the new Oncology Precision Medicine Clinic can provide new options and new hope. Learn more about precision medicine for cancer.
You can try new treatment options before they become widely available through clinical trials at the Aurora Research Institute.
Thanks to a federal grant, you can now participate closer to home with clinical trial access at all Aurora cancer clinics. All Aurora oncologists can enroll you in a trial, making the process even easier. Search clinical trials.
The pancreatic cancer clinic at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center handles your evaluation and more specialized treatments. You can choose to receive other care through your local Aurora cancer clinic.
Collectively, the program offers: