Though cancers of the liver and pancreas are not the most common, they are among the deadliest. Most of the time, patients are asymptomatic until the cancer is in a late stage, when it has spread to include a large part of the organ or has metastasized to other parts of the body.
Because of the challenges of early diagnosis of hepatobiliary disease, specialized and expert treatment become essential for patients who have been diagnosed. The Cancer Institute is one of the few facilities in the region with the expertise to perform the complex Whipple surgery, a procedure that removes the head and neck of the pancreas.
Whipple Procedure Surgeon
Pancreatic Cancer (Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma)
The Hodes Comprehensive Liver and Pancreas Center at St. Joseph has a highly experienced team of gastroenterologists and radiologists who perform the blood tests, diagnostic imaging and biopsies needed to diagnose liver and pancreatic cancer. Our skilled doctors can make all the difference in making an early diagnosis and starting an effective treatment plan.
Adenocarcinoma of the pancreas is the fifth leading cause of adult cancer deaths in the United States. The incidence has been stable at about 28,000 new cases annually. The etiology of this malignancy is unknown. Cigarette smoking has been implicated as well alcohol, organic solvents, and petroleum products.
Patients commonly present with unexplained weight loss. Painless jaundice is also a common presentation.
The head of the pancreas is the most common location in the majority of cases. Body and tail lesions however do occur.
Treatment includes a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation in the majority of cases.
Tumors confined to the pancreatic head undergo the Whipple procedure which is described in this website. Borderline respectable tumors may also require the resection of the portal or superior mesenteric vein. Reconstruction of the vein is either primarily, with internal jugular vein, or superficial femoral vein.
The results at St. Joseph Medical Center for patients with pancreatic cancer undergoing the Whipple procedure exceed those of other major centers. Our rates of complication from this procedure are extremely low.