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Outcomes of cancer of the pancreas

Endoscope (large white tube on Xray) positioned to place a stent through an obstructed pancreatic duct. Stent (red arrows) allows radio-opaque dye to flow through
Endoscope (large white tube on Xray) positioned to place a stent through an obstructed pancreatic duct. Stent (red arrows) allows radio-opaque dye to flow through

Some ( minority) of patients are cured by radical surgery and some, who are deemed inoperable, may survive a considerable time after therapies such as the chemo-radiotherapy approach outlined above, although it has to be said that the majority of patients with this type of cancer die of their disease within three to five years.

 

Stenting for jaundice due to obstructed bile ducts can be very useful.

 

Where the disease has spread further afield, and the liver is the usual organ at risk, then chemotherapy (and the drug, gemcitabine, used alone or in combination with others e.g. oxaliplatin, would be first line (and the addition of erlotinib has been mentioned already) and second line regimes include the triplet, fluorouracil, cis-platinum and epirubicin used in combination); however, nothing is curative and it is necessary for the doctor to assess the progress of the chemotherapy by repeat scanning and blood tests every few courses.

 

Plowman Oncology London (e-mail: postmaster@pnplowman)

 


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