Surgery for early pancreatic NETs
Surgical removal (resection) of the tumour is the most common treatment for people with early-stage disease who are in good health. The surgeon will aim to remove all of the tumour from the pancreas as well as the surrounding tissue. The type of surgery will depend on the size of the tumour and where it is located.
Surgery for early pancreatic NETs is often done with the aim of cure. There are risks and potential complications involved in pancreatic surgery. For small pancreatic NETs, keeping a watchful eye on the tumour’s growth may be preferable to major surgery (see active surveillance). Your treatment team will weigh up the benefits and risks of surgery, while taking into account your general health and your preferences.
As with more common types of pancreatic cancer, surgeries for early-stage pancreatic NETs include:
|Whipple procedure||Treats tumours in the head of the pancreas; also called pancreaticoduodenectomy.|
|Distal pancreatectomy||Removes tumours in the tail or body of the pancreas and often also removes the spleen.|
|Total pancreatectomy||Removes the entire pancreas and spleen. This may be the best option if the cancer is large, or in multiple places in the pancreas.|
In some cases, you will be given somatostatin analogues before surgery.
Video: What is surgery?
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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