Pancreatic carcinomas – often detected late
Pancreatic cancer is often detected late due to the wide range of symptoms. As a result, the survival rate after 5 years is only about 10 percent (surveys by the Robert Koch Institute). Treatment with chemotherapy may offer improved chances of cure with supportive radiation therapy.
fourth most common
approx. 10 %
Source: “Cancer in Germany”, RKI/Krebsdaten.de
Where can you have pancreatic cancer treated in Munich?
The treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer (pancreatic carcinoma) can be carried out with the help of various procedures. The Team of Radiologie München supports colleagues from other departments in tumour boards in order to develop an optimal therapy for the patient.
What is a tumor board?
Tumour boards are conferences in which specialists from different fields discuss individual cases together. In doing so, they jointly determine the optimal strategies for diagnostics and therapy.
Treatment by irradiation of pancreatic cancer
The treatment of the patient with pancreatic cancer (pancreatic carcinoma) can be carried out with the help of various procedures. The team at Radiologie München develops an individual treatment plan according to the patient’s health status in order to treat the cancer cells in the best possible way.
How is pancreatic cancer treated?
Factors such as the patient’s age, the type, location and spread of the tumour as well as the patient’s general state of health are decisive for the choice of the right treatment method.
If the cancer has already spread, there is a risk that not all cancer cells can be removed during surgery. Then the administration of drugs that slow down the growth of cancer cells (cytostatics) is useful before surgery. This so-called neoadjuvant chemotherapy can shrink the tumor and in this way make surgery possible.
Chemotherapy after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy) is recommended if not all cancer cells could be removed during surgery. It also has a positive influence on the course of the disease, as further tumour growth is slowed down.
In some cases, chemotherapy is combined with radiation therapy (radiochemotherapy) in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Both types of treatment aim to destroy cancer cells and stop them from spreading. In teletherapy, the source of radiation is outside the body. This involves the use of high-energy beams that punctually irradiate the tumour through the skin from different directions.
Radiation therapy, like chemotherapy, can be used before or after surgery. Used before surgery, it can help detach the tumour from the large blood vessels to make surgery easier. Used after surgery, it can reduce the likelihood of local recurrence.
If the pancreatic cancer is localized, the tumor should be removed completely by surgery. In this case, the surgeon must remove adjacent healthy tissue in addition to the affected tissue. Depending on how much the cancer has spread, the gallbladder, duodenum, spleen or parts of the stomach, for example, may also need to be surgically removed.
Pancreatic cancer is usually detected quite late, as it can develop without any noticeable symptoms. If the cancer has already reached an advanced stage, it may be advisable to use chemotherapy or radiation therapy before surgery in order to make surgery possible at all. On the other hand, in certain cases, chemotherapy or even radiation therapy must be used after surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence.
What is the treatment process in our practices?
What do you need to pay attention to before, during and after treatment?
Please make sure you eat a healthy, balanced diet and drink enough water. A healthy nutritional status plays an important role in the treatment and spread of the tumor. It also helps reduce the side effects of radiation therapy.
Alcohol and especially smoking should be avoided at all costs.
What are the side effects of pancreatic irradiation?
The treatment plan is individually tailored to the patient so that the cancer treatment is as efficient as possible. Nevertheless, side effects may occur during or after treatment. These include inflammation of the mucous membranes of the stomach and intestines, nausea, diarrhea and fatigue.
If the pancreas is removed, it affects hormone production. Patients need to take enzymes with every meal to regulate digestion. If the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas are impaired, the patient must inject himself with insulin. This is discussed with the radiotherapists and the attending doctors.