Pancreatic Cancer

Proton Therapy Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is diagnosed when malignant cells are found in the tissue of the pancreas, an organ behind the stomach that is surrounded by many critical organs. The pancreas produces enzymes that contribute to proper digestion. 

Pancreatic cancer is a leading cause of cancer death, spreading quickly and rarely detected early on. It often impacts African-Americans, those who are overweight or obese and those with diabetes. 

Various Imaging Tests Used for Diagnosis 

Imaging tests, such as an ultrasound, CT scan or MRI, are often used to detect pancreatic cancer.

Symptoms

The following symptoms of pancreatic cancer tend to appear after the disease has advanced. They are common symptoms for various conditions, so your doctor may check for various ailments, including pancreatic cancer. These symptoms include:

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Blood clots
  • Yellowing of skin and the whites of eyes
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression

Diagnosis

As with many cancers, pancreatic cancer may be detected through various imaging tests, including ultrasounds, computerized tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imagining (MRI). A physician may complete a biopsy as well, which involves the removal of a tissue sample that is then examined for the presence of cancer.

Treatment

It is incredibly difficult to treat pancreatic cancer with an effective dose of radiation without compromising nearby critical tissues and organs, including the kidneys, stomach and spinal cord. A combination of treatment methods is often used, including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. The use of traditional radiation therapy can be challenging, because of the pancreas’ proximity to other organs.
Proton therapy provides an opportunity for treatment that is less likely to compromise these surrounding tissues and organs. Radiation oncologists are able to use the unique physical properties of protons to precisely treat the target area while limiting or eliminating the healthy tissue exposed to unnecessary radiation.
The chances of destroying the cancer cells increases while the transfer of radiation to surrounding tissue decreases.

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For information or to schedule a consultation, contact us to speak with a Care Coordinator.

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