Pancreatic Cancer Chemotherapy Oncology Services

Many types of pancreatic cancer respond well to treatment with medical oncology. This includes anti-cancer drugs, as well as biologic therapies and regional perfusion.

Medical oncology is well suited for pancreatic cancers that are resectable, or removable by surgery.

Pancreatic Cancer Chemotherapy

The medical oncologists at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center work closely with the surgical oncologists to devise a treatment plan that combines both approaches. They time treatments in a way that will maximize positive outcomes.

People who can't have surgery because of their health or other factors may also benefit from medical oncology. Sometimes medical treatment combined with radiation oncology can help as well.

In each case, the team collaborates to decide and deliver the proper treatments for your type and stage of pancreatic cancer.

Medical Oncology Treatment Options for Pancreatic Cancer

Medical oncology includes a range of treatment approaches using drugs or other chemicals. Depending on your type and stage of pancreatic cancer, your medical oncologist may use one or several types of treatment.

Medical oncology options

Medical oncology treatments for pancreatic cancer at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center include:

  • Chemotherapy — this is the treatment of cancer with drugs or chemicals. Exocrine pancreatic cancers respond to chemo better than neuroendocrine tumors. Resectable tumors (removable by surgery) respond better to chemo than more advanced pancreatic cancers (such as Stage III, which includes locally advanced and unresectable tumors). For metastatic pancreatic cancer, chemotherapy can help to slow the spread of the disease.
  • Immunotherapy or biologic therapy — this type of treatment works with the immune system to alter the chemical environment of the cancer. Colony stimulating factors, interferon, interleukin, and monoclonal antibodies are examples of biologic agents.
  • Regional perfusion — this therapy is for cancer still confined to the pancreas but advanced beyond surgical removal. Regional perfusion may extend and improve the quality of your life.

You may also have the chance to take part in a clinical trial of new cancer drugs or protocols.

In some cases, medical oncology can cause side effects like fatigue or hair loss. Your care team will address any side effects if they occur.

Contact Us About Medical Treatments for Pancreatic Cancer

To learn more about pancreatic cancer care, contact UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at 412-647-2811.