Surgery is the only curative treatment for pancreatic cancer, but it is feasible only at the early stages of the disease.
In practice, pancreatic cancer is operable only in 10 to 20 % of patients. Indeed, at diagnosis, most patients have already a locally advanced or metastatic cancer and thus not resectable. In addition, the patient’s general condition (age, health status…) is also taken into account by the medical team to determine whether surgery is possible. The surgical procedure for tumor resection is adapted according to the pancreas region (body, head or tail) concerned by the cancer. Some vessels or organs in contact with the tumor may also be removed to avoid any dissemination of cancer cells. To prevent cancer recurrence, adjuvant treatments (chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy) will be prescribed to the patient after surgery. When the tumor is inoperable, these treatments may also be proposed as first-line therapy, with the hope of reducing the tumor size and make surgery possible.