Robert Marsh, MD
Director, Gastrointestinal Oncology
About Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is a less common but more life-threatening form of Gastrointestinal (GI) cancer. While pancreatic cancer is estimated to be diagnosed annually in about 32,000 patients, only a small fraction of those patients will survive to five years.
Pancreatic cancer risk factors include many of the same risks as other GI cancers. Risk increases with patients who are older than 50, patients with a family history of pancreatic cancer, and high fat diets. Other risks have been identified to include smoking, diabetes, or chronic pancreatitis. Unlike other GI cancers, men are more at risk than women. African Americans are more likely to have this cancer than Caucasians.
Pancreatic cancer has few identifiable symptoms in its early stages. General symptoms may include pain in the stomach, in the middle or upper back, weight loss and/or jaundice and the new onset of diabetes.
Pancreatic Cancer Screening & Diagnosis
Pancreatic cancer is usually detected and diagnosed with exams or procedures designed to take images of the pancreas and surrounding areas in the body. These tests may include MRI, PET scans and CT scans. These tests also determine the cancer’s severity or stage. Determining the stage of the cancer helps the team plan treatment and to decide if the pancreatic cancer can be removed surgically.
NorthShore University HealthSystem physicians and the team at the Kellogg Cancer Center work collaboratively and are dedicated to putting patients and families at the center of a healthcare experience that delivers compassionate, quality care.
Every week, our multidisciplinary team meets to discuss each patient’s case in detail and to design a personalized treatment plan. Your team may include your medical oncologist, surgeon, radiation oncologist, genetics counselor, pathologist, nutritionist, gastroenterologist, interventional radiologist, and researchers focused on you. This meeting of the minds provides each patient with an individualized care plant to create the path for the most successful outcome. Our approach emphasizes open communication, collaborating with each other personally and through one of the most advanced electronic medical records systems in the country.