If diagnosed early, pancreatic cancer can be removed by surgery. However, if the cancer has spread from the pancreas to outlying tissues and organs, surgery to remove the pancreas may not be possible.
The main treatment for pancreatic cancer that is diagnosed at an early stage is surgery. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can also be used, sometimes in combination. If the cancer is obstructing the bile duct and cannot be removed surgically, a stent (plastic or metal tube) can be inserted to maintain the flow of bile and prevent jaundice. Chemotherapy can also be used if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
The prognosis after treatment of pancreatic cancer depends on the stage and the treatment given. If the cancer is completely removable with surgery, cure is possible. If surgical removal is not possible, the symptoms caused by the cancer can often be alleviated.