Pancreatic Cancer

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Treating Pancreatic Cancer TOPICS

How is pancreatic cancer treated?

This information represents the views of the doctors and nurses serving on the American Cancer Society's Cancer Information Database Editorial Board. These views are based on their interpretation of studies published in medical journals, as well as their own professional experience.
The treatment information in this document is not official policy of the Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.
Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don't hesitate to ask him or her questions about your treatment options.

General treatment information

Depending on the type and stage of your x cancer, you may need more than one type of treatment. Doctors on your cancer treatment team may include:

  • A surgeon: a doctor who uses surgery to treat cancers or other problems
  • An endocrinologist: a doctor who treats diseases in glands that secrete hormones
  • A radiation oncologist: a doctor who uses radiation to treat cancer
  • A medical oncologist: a doctor who uses chemotherapy and other medicines to treat cancer

Many other specialists may be involved in your care as well, including nurse practitioners, nurses, psychologists, social workers, rehabilitation specialists, and other health professionals.

The main types of treatment for pancreatic cancer are:

Pain control is also an important part of treatment for many patients.

Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, some of these treatments may be combined. For information about some of the most common approaches used based on the extent of the disease, see the section “Treating pancreatic cancer by stage.”

It is important to discuss all of your treatment options, including their goals and possible side effects, with your doctors to help make the decision that best fits your needs. It’s also very important to ask questions if there is anything you’re not sure about. You can find some good questions to ask in the section, “What should you ask your doctor about pancreatic cancer?

See the “Additional resources for pancreatic cancer” section for other, more detailed materials on the different types of cancer treatments and their side effects.


Last Medical Review: 01/28/2013
Last Revised: 02/05/2014