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Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

Male doctor talking to female patient in hospital bed

Pancreatic cancer treatment is complex. At the Abramson Cancer Center, you have a team of world-class gastrointestinal (GI) cancer experts and support professionals in your corner. Our specialists collaborate closely with each other and with you to create a personalized treatment plan based on the latest science and cancer research breakthroughs.

Pancreatic Cancer Treatment: The Penn Medicine Advantage

At Penn, you’re under the care of experienced pancreatic cancer specialists who are leaders in their field. Our team’s exceptional abilities have made us a top referral center on the East Coast for the most complex pancreatic cancer cases. You’ll never fight this cancer alone.

Patients consistently praise our:

  • Multidisciplinary approach: At Penn, you’ll have access to every expert you need. Surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and others work together on your treatment. Our specialists’ close professional relationships and Penn’s culture of collaboration produce the highest quality of individualized care. Meet our GI cancer specialists.
  • Top pancreatic cancer surgeons: Penn’s team includes some of the nation’s top pancreatic surgeons. We perform more pancreatic resection surgeries than most medical centers in the US. Our outcomes for major pancreatic surgeries are among the best in the nation, with the highest level of care and safety. We consider surgery for all patients with nonmetastatic pancreatic tumors, even when other centers can’t operate.
  • Knowledge of rare and complex cancers: Penn’s team includes national experts in rare diseases like pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors and hereditary pancreatic cancers. We understand the nuances of detecting and treating conditions that some doctors may never see.
  • Exciting clinical trial options: Our researchers are on the edge of emerging research exploring immunotherapy’s potential for pancreatic tumors. We participate in clinical trials for all stages of pancreatic cancer, including trials studying CAR T-cell therapy, to offer you more choices in your care. Read about our GI cancer research.
  • Support for the challenges you face: Our GI oncology nurse and patient navigators are usually your first contact with our team, and your biggest cheerleaders throughout treatment. They get to know you and provide answers, scheduling assistance and a listening ear.
  • Convenient care: We take extra steps to make the treatment process easier for you, such as helping you see multiple doctors on the same day. Close coordination across Abramson Cancer Center locations helps you receive more of your care closer to home and the people who support you most.

Pancreatic Cancer Treatment Options

Pancreatic cancer is a complex disease. Our experts consider your test results, overall health and your personal wishes before developing a treatment plan. Many patients need a combination of therapies.

Pancreatic cancer treatment options include:

Pancreatic Cancer Surgery

Surgery offers the best chance to cure pancreatic cancer. Penn is an ultra-high-volume center for pancreatic cancer surgeries, including the Whipple procedure. We have the specialized surgeons, operating room staff, nurses, and anesthesiologists to safely perform these complicated surgeries.

Our fellowship-trained cancer and vascular surgeons work together to perform complicated procedures to remove pancreatic tumors. Our exceptional expertise allows us to treat even the most complex cases, such as tumors that have invaded critical blood vessels.

Extended enhanced recovery (ERAS) protocols after surgery get patients moving quickly and help them recover comfortably at home sooner. Learn more about surgery for pancreatic cancer.

Medical Oncology

Your doctor may recommend you take medications (such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy or targeted therapies) to treat pancreatic cancer. Our specialists often recommend one or a combination of these therapies to shrink a tumor before surgery.

More effective cancer medications are shrinking tumors significantly, making surgery an option for more people than ever before.

Medical oncology treatments include:

Radiation Oncology

Radiation therapies direct high-intensity energy beams at cancer cells to stop them from growing or spreading. Penn offers the latest radiation therapy innovations, including powerfully precise therapies like proton therapy that few other centers in the region offer. Read more about radiation oncology at Penn.

Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials

Penn pioneered the world’s first approved CAR T-cell therapy, an immunotherapy that harnesses the power of your immune system to stop cancer. Our continued research may offer you more treatment options, including new therapies available only through clinical trials. Find out about GI cancer clinical trials.

Supportive Care

Supportive oncology services take care of your whole health. We help you manage the many ways cancer or treatment can impact your well-being. Your care team can connect you with the vast resources available to you, such as nutrition guidance, emotional support and expert symptom management. Learn more about available GI cancer support services.

Request an Appointment

Our pancreatic cancer nurse navigator can guide you to the right pancreatic cancer expert for your needs. Call 215-615-0534 or request an appointment online.