The pancreas makes enzymes to help you digest foods as well as insulin, which regulates your blood sugar levels. Pancreatic cancer occurs when cells in your pancreas grow out of control.
Physicians in The Elkins Pancreas Center specialize in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Our top ranked oncologists, surgeons, imaging experts and nurses form a multidisciplinary team to help guide you through an individualized treatment plan. If you have questions or want to make an appointment, call (713) 798-2262.
Prevention and Risk Factors
Preventative steps can help lower your risk of pancreatic cancer. These include eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight and limiting your exposure to toxic chemicals.
Risk factors that can increase your chances of getting pancreatic cancer include age, gender and race as well as conditions like diabetes, chronic pancreatitis, and cirrhosis of the liver.
Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect and diagnose. If you are experiencing pain in the upper or middle of your abdomen, unexplained weight loss, fatigue dark urine and/or light-colored stool, you should immediately consult with your primary care physician or internist.
Screening and Diagnosis
If cancer is suspected, your physician will order several blood and imaging tests. These include:
- Computed tomography (CT scan)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Positron emission tomography (PET scan)
Once the results have been reviewed, your physician will provide a recommended treatment plan.
The stage of your cancer will affect your treatment plan. The stage is determined by the size of the tumor and if it has spread to other parts of the body.
Once staging is defined, treatments can include:
Patients also have access to National Cancer Institute-sponsored clinical trials.