Pancreatic cancer describes various malignant neoplasm of the pancreas. Adenocarcinoma is the most common (95%) arising from the exocrine cells of the pancreas. The minority arises from the islet cells and are classified as neuroendocrine tumours. Symptoms vary and depend on location, size, and tissue type of the tumour.
Treatment depends on type and stage of the cancer. Whipple’s procedure is often offered for cancers involving the head of the pancreas. This procedure involves removing the pancreatic head and the duodenum (pancreatoduodenectomy). It is only performed if the patient is likely to survive major surgery and if the cancer is localised without invading local structures or metastasising.
Tail of pancreas tumours can be resected using a procedure known as a distal pancreatectomy.
Surgery can be performed to relieve symptoms in the setting of jaundice or gastric outlet obstruction.