Pancreatic cancer is a disease in which there is an increase in the number of abnormal cells in the pancreas. The pancreas itself is a gland that plays a role in helping digest food and producing various types of insulin to control blood sugar levels. In many cases, surgery can be one effective way to cure pancreatic cancer as a whole. Learn more about pancreatic cancer surgery in this article.
Get to know the types of pancreatic cancer surgery
Surgery is usually the only way for a patient's cancer to heal completely. Unfortunately, not all patients can do this procedure. Only about 15-20 percent of patients are suitable for surgical removal of pancreatic tumors. Because, if it grows around important blood vessels and has spread to other parts of the body, surgery is no longer the right choice.
Pancreatic cancer surgery is an option for patients who have overall good health. This is because pancreatic surgery can take a long time and be complicated. Not to mention the slow postoperative healing that requires high stamina for the patients.
The following are some of the surgical procedures that can be done to treat pancreatic cancer:
1. Operation Whipple
Whipple surgery is the most widely performed operation to treat pancreatic cancer which involves removing the head of the pancreas. In this operation, your surgeon may remove the first part of the small intestine, gallbladder, part of the bile duct, and sometimes part of the stomach. About one in three patients who have had Whipple surgery need enzyme drugs to help digest food.
This operation involves long and intensive surgery, but has a faster recovery time compared to total pancreatic removal surgery.
2. Total pancreatectomy surgery
This operation is done to remove your entire pancreas. Not only that, your doctor may also remove the spleen organs, bile ducts, part of the small intestine, gallbladder, lymph nodes around the pancreas, and sometimes part of the stomach.
After total pancreatectomy surgery, you must take enzymes to help digest food. Removal of the functioning of the pancreas produces insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar) that will make patients experience diabetes. As a result of removal of the spleen organ also makes patients have to take penicillin antibiotics for life and routine immunization to prevent infection.
3. Distal pancreatectomy surgery
This operation is to remove the body and tail of the pancreas, but not the head of the pancreas. Your spleen will usually be removed at the same time. Not only that, your body parts like part of the stomach, part of the large intestine, left kidney, left adrenal gland, and possibly the left diaphragm will also be removed.
As with Whipple surgery, distal pancreatectomy is a long and complex operation, which will not be done if your doctor considers this procedure really necessary.
Pancreatic surgery is performed to reduce symptoms
If it can't be cured, this surgery is done to relieve symptoms and make the patient more comfortable.
To help control jaundice, an open stent or tube can be placed in your bile duct using retrooscopic endoscopic cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). This procedure is done to help prevent the buildup of elements of bilirubin that cause jaundice.
Bypass surgery that blocks the bile duct can also be done if the use of a stent is not suitable for the patient. The blocked bile duct will be cut off from the top and connected to your intestine to allow bile to flow out.
Because patients are required to undergo a complex and intensive procedure, the postoperative recovery process for pancreatic cancer is also important because it requires a long time.
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