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Pancreatic Cancer

Diagnostic Tests | Personalized Treatment | Research and Clinical Trials | Additional Patient Support | Other Resources

Pancreatic cancer is a less common but more life-threatening form of gastrointestinal (GI) cancer. Some 57,000 Americans are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year.

The complex care needed to effectively treat pancreatic cancer requires multidisciplinary expertise. Drawing from the diverse experience of internationally renowned physicians and surgeons who see large numbers of patients with the disease, the Kellogg Cancer Center team is dedicated to putting patients—and families—at the center of a healthcare experience that delivers compassionate, collaborative care.

Newly diagnosed patients have the added support of a specialized oncology nurse navigator to guide them through their pancreatic cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Pancreatic Cancer Diagnostic Tests

Pancreatic cancer is a less common but more life-threatening form of Gastrointestinal (GI) cancer, which is estimated to be diagnosed annually in about 46,000 patients.

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 CT scans, MRI and PET scans to capture images of tumors. These test results, along with a patient’s medical history and a physical exam, can suggest pancreatic cancer. A biopsy, in which a small sample of a tumor is removed and examined, definitively diagnoses if cancer is present. These tests also determine the cancer’s severity or stage.

Personalized Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

Treatment options for pancreatic cancer will vary by the stage of the cancer and may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and/or surgery. Fellowship-trained hepato-pancreaticobiliary surgeons offer skill in complex procedures for pancreatic cancer. NorthShore is among a few select institutions using minimally invasive strategies for pancreatic resection.

Our multidisciplinary team meets regularly in a multidisciplinary conference to discuss your case in detail and to design a personalized treatment plan. Your pancreatic cancer treatment team may include your medical oncologistsurgeon, interventional gastroenterologist, radiation oncologist, oncology nurse, geneticist, pathologist, nutritionist, pharmacist, interventional radiologist, social worker and researchers, all focused on you. This "meeting of the minds" provides critical input, resulting in an individualized care plan outlining the best course of action for your care.

NorthShore's Advanced Therapeutic Endoscopy Program, brings additional specialized expertise to our patients. This sophisticated technology is becoming more important in helping to diagnose, precisely stage and treat benign and malignant tumors in the liver and GI tract.

Patients are at the center of this multidisciplinary team, and Kellogg staff arrange for them to be seen by their multidisciplinary team at one appointment, not only for their convenience but to provide a consensus on their course of treatment. Our use of one of the most advanced Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems in the country enhances our open communication and promotes collaboration in our patient care.

NorthShore’s comprehensive Pancreaticobiliary and Liver Disease Program receives referrals from throughout the extended region and well beyond.

Research and Clinical Trials

NorthShore is a regional and national leader in pancreas research. Our physicians have authored a number of exciting studies that are currently accruing nationwide. NorthShore’s clinical pancreatic cancer database is one of the largest in the country.

A dedicated Pancreas Research Program aims to develop better options for pancreatic cancer diagnosis and treatment with the continued goal of providing the best outcomes, optimal quality of life and longest survival for our patients today and in the future. This robust program includes national and regional clinical trials.

Our extensive tumor bank supports both tumor profiling and the effort by NorthShore’s Center for Molecular Medicine to develop an early warning system for this often deadly disease. We also work with multiple national cancer co-operative groups such as Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group and Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology.

Additional Patient Support

Kellogg Cancer Center’s unique services and resources assist patients and family members with a variety of challenges they may face from pancreatic cancer diagnosis, treatment and beyond. A wide array of support services are available to patients that include our integrative medicine services, financial advocacy and survivorship, to name a few.

Other Resources

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network works to advance research, build community, share knowledge and advocate for patients.

For More Information

For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, please call 847.570.2112.