5. Chemotherapy for Pancreatic Cancer
Chemotherapy can be beneficial for exocrine pancreatic cancer. Used before surgery, it can help to shrink tumors before removing them. After surgery, chemotherapy and radiation together can kill any remaining tumor cells to prevent the return of the cancer. If surgery is not an option, chemotherapy may be used in place of an operation. Chemotherapy is most beneficial when two or more chemo drugs are given together.
4. Medications for Pancreatic Cancer
Chemotherapy can be useful for the treatment of exocrine cancers. But other medications are used to treat endocrine pancreatic cancers that can’t be surgically removed. Some of these drugs resemble a hormone called somatostatin. They prevent the islet cell tumors from releasing hormones. This is helpful for relieving pain and other cancer symptoms. Chemotherapy for neuroendocrine tumors can include the use of targeted drugs. These drugs attack tumor cells in specific ways to prevent their growth. Diazoxide blocks the release of insulin from the pancreas and can be helpful in neuroendocrine cancer. Proton pump inhibitors can prevent painful stomach ulcers in certain pancreatic cancer patients.
3. Prognosis for Pancreatic Cancer
The survival rates for those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are sadly discouraging. This is due to the fact that it is often detected only after spreading to other parts of the body. The one-year survival rate is 20%, and the five-year survival rate is a disappointing 7%. In general, the smaller the tumors, the greater the chance of survival.