Recently Diagnosed With Pancreatic Cancer? What Are Your Best Treatment Options?
If you've recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, you may be anxiously awaiting your next appointment with your oncologist to discuss your treatment options. This aggressive cancer can seem intimidating, but there are a number of advances in medical technology that can give you much more hope than you may have expected. Read on to learn more about some of the most effective treatment options for pancreatic cancer.
Nanoknife ablation surgery
One of the reasons pancreatic cancer has a lower five-year survival rate than other types of cancer is because of its relative undetectability. Often, by the time you're experiencing significant enough symptoms that you make a doctor's appointment, your cancer has already spread to lymph nodes or other vital organs, making it tougher to treat. However, one surgical option, nanoknife ablation surgery, targets cancer tissue while leaving surrounding tissue largely unharmed--and this procedure can more than double the average survival rate of pancreatic cancer patients.
During this surgery, a scalpel-sized knife sends pulses of electricity to the pancreatic tumor, destroying the cells within without harming your pancreas or other tissues. If your cancer is largely localized to your pancreas, nanoknife procedure may be your best option for permanent cancer eradication.
One of your non-surgical options includes radiation. During radiation treatment, the cancer tumors are blasted with alpha and gamma rays designed to shrink them. Radiation may be a good option for those whose cancer has spread enough so that surgery might be risky, or in combination with chemotherapy or another tumor-destroying treatment. Radiation has some significant side effects, like skin sensitivity and hair loss, but may be one of the best ways to rid your entire body of cancer cells after diagnosis of Stage III or IV pancreatic cancer.
This cancer treatment involves the IV infusion or oral ingestion of certain tumor-killing medications. These medications are designed to destroy cancer cells while leaving your body's non-cancerous cells relatively unharmed; however, chemotherapy does have some potentially significant side effects, like mouth sores, nausea, vomiting, hair loss, and fatigue. When employed in combination with radiation, chemotherapy can serve a one-two punch to cancer cells, helping your body's natural immune defenses attack cancer cells and fully eradicate them from your body.
Although chemotherapy can be handy when it comes to cancer that has metastasized throughout your body, it's often employed as a precautionary measure in Stage I cancer to ensure this cancer doesn't spread beyond your pancreas and cause problems in the future.