Your digestive organs are interconnected. When cancer forms, the best approach is to formulate a treatment plan through a truly connected multidisciplinary team. Here, you’ll find all the help you need to heal under one roof.
Pancreatic, Liver, and Bile Duct Cancer At A Glance
Pancreatic cancer usually doesn’t exhibit symptoms until later stages, when treatment is more difficult. As cancer grows, you may experience pain in upper abdomen or back, arm or leg swelling, stomach bloating or burning, changes to your stool, body temperature, or appetite. Patients may also exhibit a yellow complexion due to jaundice. Many times, liver cancer is characterized by pain in the abdomen, right shoulder blade, or back, or a hard lump under the ribs on the right side. Bile duct cancer is often indicated by jaundice from too much bilirubin, a yellow-orange substance, in their blood. You may also experience itching or pain in the abdominal region.
Steps to Diagnosis
Once your physician has reason to suspect pancreatic, liver, or bile duct cancer, you may be referred to a gastrointestinal specialist. It is likely that the specialist will investigate further with a biopsy, imaging tests, blood tests, or molecular tests.
Pancreatic cancer can be difficult to diagnose, as there are no simple, cost-effective screening tests available. Pancreatic and liver cancer tend to show few or no symptoms in the early stages. Bile duct cancer is more rare, especially in America, and is most likely to develop in older adults.
For all 3 cancer types, avoiding alcohol abuse is key to lowering your risk. Liver and bile duct cancer are especially tied to cirrhosis, which is often caused by alcohol consumption or exposure to the hepatitis virus. It is probable that quitting smoking, exercising, and eating a healthy, low-fat diet can lower your risk factors as well.
The importance of the pancreas, liver and bile duct to your digestive function can complicate treatment, but your care team will consider numerous options, including:
We offer a range of surgical approaches including minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotically-assisted surgery. These result in less bleeding, fewer complications and quicker recovery, meaning you get back to your regular activities a lot faster.
Intravenous and/or oral medication that attacks and kills cancer cells in the body. Many patients maintain normal activities during treatments.
High-powered energy beams, such as X-rays, are used to kill cancer cells directly. We also have expertise in brachytherapy, which is high-dose radiation therapy delivered precisely to the tumor bed. This approach spares healthy tissue and minimizes the after effects of the radiation.
Therapy focused on blocking the growth and spread of cancer cells by targeting the specific genes, proteins, or tissue affected by cancer.
Intravenous medication that stimulates your immune system, by helping it recognize and destroy cancer cells.
We start by obtaining a comprehensive understanding of you and your needs. Then we incorporate precision medicine to offer comprehensive care when you need it most.
Our interdisciplinary team considers the right care plan from multiple perspectives, often consulting other experts to gather up-to-the-moment insight on treatment options.
Then, your course of treatment will be designed to suit your exact medical needs, using precision medicine to do the most good while remaining minimally invasive. That means we’re focused not just on eradicating the disease, but on preserving your quality of life before, during, and after your treatment.
We are here to help you heal as a whole person. Wherever your care path leads, you can be sure our entire team will be there with you every step of the way.
“Our goal is to be there for you… to really integrate all these options with your personal beliefs or faith, your family situation, your social situation. So you have enough information to make the right decision for your cancer care.”
Mital Patel, MD
Please contact us to for more information about pancreatic, liver, or bile duct cancer, or other gastrointestinal cancers we treat, including:
- Colon Cancer
- Rectal Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Gallbladder Cancer
- Small Intestine Cancer
- Stomach Cancer
Wherever your individual care plan takes you, we’ll work closely with you to understand your preferences, and your needs – and be sure any additional support is ready when you need it, including:
- Dietary or nutrition advisors, providing special focus and attention for chemo patients
- Genetic counselors to help you understand your risk factors
- Social workers dedicated to easing your emotional burdens and helping with community benefits
- Financial counselors to help you understand the financial aspect and work with you to reduce the burden when possible
- Specialty pharmacy liaisons who help authorize your prescriptions and educate you on managing side effects and taking your medicine properly
- Nurse navigators to help guide you throughout the Cancer Institute, every step of the way
- Physical and rehabilitation therapists who provide integrated care alongside your primary care plan