Pancreatic cancer treatment

If you have pancreatic cancer, your medical team will discuss the best treatment for you based on the following factors:

  • the stage of the tumour (the site, size and if it has spread)
  • your general health
  • your preferences
  • for pancreatic NETs, whether the tumour is functioning (hormone producing) or non-functioning.

This section gives an overview of treatments used for early-stage pancreatic cancer, including treatment of early-stage pancreatic NETs.

Surgery to remove the cancer, in combination with chemotherapy, and possibly radiotherapy, is generally the most effective treatment for early-stage pancreatic cancer.

Learn more about:

For more on the treatment of locally advanced and metastatic pancreatic cancer, see Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

Making treatment decisions

Sometimes it is difficult to decide on the type of treatment to have. You may feel that everything is happening too fast. Check with your doctor how soon your treatment should start, and take as much time as you can before making a decision.

You have the right to accept or refuse any treatment offered, to ask for more information, or to get a second opinion. In some cases, you may be able to take part in a clinical trial that is testing new or modified treatments.

To find out more about decision-making steps, consent and second opinions, read our page on Making cancer treatment decisions.

You may find our Question checklist helpful when thinking about the questions you want to ask your doctor. 

Life after treatment

Pancreatic cancer, and treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, can affect your ability to eat, digest and absorb food. This can have a significant impact on nutrition. Find out more about managing dietary issues in After treatment.

This information was last reviewed in February 2016.
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Work and cancer
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Cancer information

Making cancer treatment decisions
Decision-making steps, consent and second opinions

Deciding on specialist care
How to find and choose a surgeon, oncologist or other specialist