Frequently Asked Questions
Here we address some common concerns new patients might have about receiving treatment for pancreatic cancer. We use every tool available to help our patients and their loved ones feel as comfortable as possible throughout the treatment process.
If you’d like to download a copy of the educational brochure that patients receive in our clinic, please click here.
What can we do about weight loss and lack of energy?
Unfortunately, weight loss and fatigue are natural and normal parts of treatment—and they are often significantly worse when treatment is avoided. We understand that these side effects can cause anxiety and stress, especially in caregivers. As yet, medicine cannot prevent weight loss, but we do have drugs that help improve appetite.
What about pain?
We can effectively treat most pain with opiates, acetaminophen, and radiation therapy. In rare cases, surgery or a nerve block might be helpful.
Are there side effects to chemotherapy?
Fatigue is normal, but we can adjust dosage to limit it. Drugs can be used to control others such as diarrhea, nausea, and numbness/tingling in the hands/feet, as well as vomiting, which is highly uncommon thanks to highly effective medicine.
What about radiation?
The most common is fatigue, but patients might also experience upset stomach and nausea. Skin can redden/blister at sites receiving radiation.
How long does surgery recovery take?
Recovery time depends on surgery type. Tumors in the head/neck of the pancreas often require more extensive procedures and longer recovery (6-9 months) than those in the body/tail (2-3 months).
Are there risks associated with ports?
Uncommon risks include infection and blood clots. The placement site might be sore shortly after implant, but rarely for more than a few days.
Do patients need to stay in the hospital overnight to receive chemo?
No, chemotherapy is administered in our clinic, and patients can return home with a caretaker the same day.