Treatment for pancreatic cancer is done for two reasons. The first is to help alleviate some of the symptoms a person may experience due to the disease. This is usually the most common reason doctors will recommend treatment for pancreatic cancer, since the prognosis is still poor even with treatment. But, depending on how the cancer is developed, treatment may also be recommended as a means for trying to prolong a person’s life.
So, what is involved when a person undergoes treatment for pancreatic cancer? It will depend on the stage the cancer is in. The treatment for pancreatic cancer in stages T1 and T2, where the tumors are localized to just the pancreas, involves surgical intervention. In fact, when it comes to the different types of treatments for pancreatic cancer, surgical intervention offers the most success for long-term survival. Unfortunately, most pancreatic cases are diagnosed when the disease has gone far beyond the stage of localization.
When this happens the pancreatic cancer is said to have metastasized. Specific treatment methods will depend on how far the tumors have spread throughout the body. If the tumors are still limited to the pancreatic region, surgical intervention may be used but not necessarily to remove the tumors, since tumor removal in this situation hasn’t been shown to help a person live longer. Instead, surgical intervention is used to help bile pass and/or to open up intestines that may have been blocked as the cancer has progressed.
To help address the tumors themselves, the appropriate treatment for pancreatic cancer that has metastasized is usually chemotherapy. What is chemotherapy? It is when a person receives chemicals that help kill cancer cells. They tend to be so powerful that they can kill healthy cells as well. This can result in a person experiencing some of the classic side effects of chemotherapy treatment, such as loss of hair or extreme illness.
There is also another option when it comes to treatment for pancreatic cancer… doing nothing. How can this be considered a legitimate treatment for pancreatic cancer? Well, for many patients the thought of spending however many months they have left sick from chemotherapy is depressing. They may experiment with alternative therapies, keeping hope alive that something may still cure them or they may just accept that they’re going to die. With the latter decision, they may arrange to stay in a hospice, so they can be more comfortable as they are dying. Then there are others that would prefer to die at home, around the comfort of their families. Either way, it’s a hard, noble decision, even if it’s not for everyone.
In conclusion, you will have to decide for yourself whether you want to seek treatment for pancreatic cancer. If your cancer is localized, you should go on and do what is necessary for treatment, since your chance of survival is much higher. On the other hand, if your cancer has progressed to the point that treatment is only used to make you feel better, you will have to evaluate whether it’s worth going through it.