What if the cancer returns?
If the surgery successfully removes all of the cancer, you will have regular appointments to monitor your health, manage any long-term side effects and check that the cancer hasn’t come back or spread.
Check-ups will become less frequent if you have no further problems. Between appointments, let your doctor know immediately of any symptoms or health problems.
Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer is difficult to treat and it does often come back after treatment. This is known as a recurrence.
Most of the time, surgery is not an option if you have a recurrence. Your doctors may recommend other types of treatment with the aim of reducing symptoms and improving quality of life. The next chapter describes some of these treatments.
You may also be able to get new treatments by joining a clinical trial.
Dr Lorraine Chantrill, Head of Department, Medical Oncology, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, NSW; Marion Bamblett, Nurse Unit Manager, Cancer Centre, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; Prof Katherine Clark, Clinical Director of Palliative Care, Northern Sydney Local Health District Cancer and Palliative Care Network, and Conjoint Professor, Northern Clinical School, The University of Sydney, NSW; Lynda Dunstone, Consumer; Kate Graham, Accredited Practising Dietitian – Upper GI Dietitian, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Gina Hesselberg, Radiation Oncologist, St George Hospital Cancer Centre, NSW; Dr Marni Nenke, Endocrinologist and Mary Overton Early Career Research Fellow, Royal Adelaide Hospital, SA; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; A/Prof Nicholas O’Rourke, Head of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Royal Brisbane Hospital and The University of Queensland, QLD; Rose Rocca, Senior Clinical Dietitian – Upper GI, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Gail Smith, Consumer. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum
Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment