When is surgery for pancreatic cancer possible?

Early stages. When there is no distant metastasis and minimal/ no involvement of major vessels within the region of pancreatic bed.
When it can be done. There can't be any evidence of spread of cancer outside the pancreas. Also you have to be able to separate the diseased pancreas from the surrounding blood vessels.
Early. The term "resectable" means the surgeon can get around the tumor, and leave the vital blood vessels intact. Unfortunatley for the pancreas, there are vital blood vessels close to these tumors which we cannot divide or disrupt or else we cut off blood supply to organs needed to live. The other reason would be spread (metastatic spread) of the tumor to other organs- mainly the liver.

Related Questions

Diagnosed with stage 1 pancreatic cancer in the head of the pancreas, I don't want surgery or chemotherapy how long will I live?

Untreated, 1-2 years. Pancreatic cancer can only be staged after surgery- information provided by a pathologist is necessary to assign a stage. If you have what appears to be early stage pancreatic cancer it would be foolish not to seek treatment since surgery can cure up to 40% of cases, and while big surgery, the risk is low (around 1%). Depending on pathology findings postop chemotherapy may provide added benefit.
You can be cured! Stage I pancreas cancer can be cured! But, surgery is a must! If you don't have surgery, it will become life-threatening within months to a few years. Please go to a cancer center where a pancreas surgeon performs many procedures per year.


Buldge. Please contact your primary doctor and set up an appointment. Should not be much delay and your primary doctor may ask you to get lab studies drawn before you see him. Hope all goes well - please keep me informed.
Time to see surgeon. Your description fits best the description for an eventration, a form of hernia, somewhat common after abdominal surgery. While this is a possibility, a variety of other diagnoses may account for your symptoms, that' s why seeing your surgeon, the one who performed the procedure, would be what I would recommend. A simple exam might suffice, but tests might be needed based on clinical impression.

How long can a person with pancreatic cancer be expected to live without surgery and only with chemo therapy?

Depends. This really depends on the patient's given clinical situtation including the extent of their disease, other illness that he/she may already have, and their performance status (how well they can or can not do things on their own) but a rough estimate would be about a year.
Less than a year. Patients with metastatic cancer live generally less than 6 months without treatment and had a median survival of 11 months with an aggressive chemo regimen recently studied (folfirinox). Unfortunately, patients with locally advanced and even "resectable" disease who can not get resection usually do not fare better with chemotherapy alone despite having no evidence of spread initially.
Re-research. As dr bose correctly pointed out, most patients live only 11 months even with aggressive chemotherapy, and the so called targeted therapy tarceva (erlotinib) only adds survival by 12 days, and it costs (*000, 00) dollars. In my own lab, we found many "cheap" drugs probably more effective then the expensive ones, but again, we need more research to prove it. Funding....

Is bypass surgery a safe option for a pancreatic cancer patient?

Hard to know. You may mean cardiac bypass or gastric bypass. The question you should ask is "what are the risks and the benefits of this surgery? What would happen if you didn't do surgery? " it may be that a gastric bypass surgery is necessary in order to relieve symptoms or remove the pancreatic cancer. But ask the doctor to explain until you're satisfied you understand the answer!

I was wondering is a bypass surgery safe for a pancreatic cancer patient?

Depends. I assume you mean cardiac bypass? It would rarely be used in someone with pancreatic cancer unless they were free of disease several (usually 5) years. If the person has uncontrollable angina, a percutaneous intervention targeting the culprit lesion would be preferred.

What time do you have left with pancreatic cancer existing after whipple surgery? Stage 3. Ct scans are clear but patient won't/can't? Leave bed.

PancreaticCA&whipple. If patient had a whipped they have had the best, most aggressive treatment. May need to add radiation and chemo, but a whipped is a hugh surgery. It can be very difficult to recover from...Taking months. Encourage the person to get up and eat and get moving. Do they really want to spend whatever time they have left in bed? Talk to ur md about depression and how you can help this person.

Mom has pancreatic cancer, whipple surgery done but now in lover & 2 spots on lung. Not eating well & tired. How much longer do you think she has?

Quality of life. I am so sorry for your mother's illness. Pancreatic cancer is a difficult disease. We can't say how long anyone might live, but sharing time with your mother is likely to give her comfort and happiness. If you have not consulted Hospice, please give them a call. They are about caring, comfort and quality time for your mother and for you.
Difficult to answer. However you could continue to do your best. Try and see if she could handle fluids better eg:ensure. You will feel lot better if you did your best in the circumstances, as you only get one chance. Although it is difficult, physically and emotionally, and spiritually -- it is your last chance to be helpful to your mother. God Bless.