Pancreatic cancer treatment at GenesisCare
We are specialists in the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating all types of cancer, including pancreatic cancer. We have teams of highly trained cancer specialists who are experts in this disease. They work together to evaluate the newest, evidence-based approaches so we can offer these to every patient – without delay.
Pancreatic cancer treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. We combine this with consultant-led integrative care, such as wellbeing therapies and psychological support, to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Our qualified physiotherapists and wellbeing consultants will carefully plan these therapies tailored to your needs by working with you and your consultant.
The pancreas is an organ in the abdomen that produces digestive juices (bile) and hormones (inulin) and is found between the liver and stomach. Pancreatic cancer is the 10th most common cancer in the UK, and according to Cancer Research UK, there are around 10,300 new cases of pancreatic cancer each year. It mainly affects people over the age of 60, and almost half of people who have pancreatic cancer are at least 75.
We are the UK’s leading specialist private cancer care provider. By choosing us, you can be reassured that your treatment will be managed by a team of specialists working together, with you, to decide the best, personalised care plan for your diagnosis.
It is our commitment to offering world-class care to every patient with cancer.
How is pancreatic cancer treated?
There are a number of options of treatment available for pancreatic cancer at GenesisCare, such as:
- Surgery – removal of part or all of the pancreas
- Chemotherapy – anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs that destroy the cancerous cells
- Radiotherapy – high-energy radiation beams which are targeted at the cancer cells
How is pancreatic cancer diagnosed?
At GenesisCare, we diagnose and treat a wide range of cancers, and we understand that this can be a very worrying time. Our diagnostic services are world-class, and our commitment is to give you the answers you need, as quickly as possible. It’s important to remember that symptoms can often be caused by other conditions and not always pancreatic cancer. But, whatever your diagnosis, we can make sure you get the expert care you need and without delay.
If you’re concerned about pancreatic cancer symptoms, we offer specialist diagnostics and tests for pancreatic cancer in our centres. Here you’ll see one of our expert consultants who specialise in cancers affecting the pancreas. They’ll assess your symptoms and, if necessary, refer you for diagnostic tests such as imaging scans (including ultrasound, CT, MRI and PET/CT), laparoscopy, biopsy or blood tests.
Pancreatic cancer symptoms
Symptoms of pancreatic cancer don’t usually appear until quite late. They can also be vague, which makes it a complex condition to diagnose. The most common symptoms of pancreatic cancer are:
- Back pain
- Stomach pain
- Unexpected weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
- Extreme tiredness
Other signs of pancreatic cancer may include:
- Itchy skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in bowel habits
- High temperature
- Blood clots
Other benign conditions may cause these symptoms and having one or more of the signs above doesn’t mean you have pancreatic cancer. If you’re concerned about pancreatic cancer, you should talk to your GP, and they can refer you to a specialist if they think it’s needed, or you can book directly with us.
Surgery is the primary treatment for early-stage pancreatic cancers and forms part of an overall treatment and care plan for pancreatic cancers.
Our consultants include expert surgeons who work in local and nationally renowned hospitals and will work together with other cancer specialists to decide the best course of treatment for you. If your consultant recommends pancreatic cancer surgery, this can be arranged conveniently at one of our partner hospitals. You can then continue your other treatments at GenesisCare.
There are different procedures for pancreatic cancer surgery, and your surgeon will recommend the most appropriate technique depending on the size, location and spread of your cancer. If your cancer is blocking the bile duct or part of your small bowel, palliative surgery or other procedures can also help relieve the associated symptoms.
Surgery side effects
No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you, together with the ways your treatment plan and supportive care can help manage or minimise these.
At GenesisCare, we offer all drug therapies that can be used to treat and manage pancreatic cancer, including many of the newest treatments. Depending on how these treatments are given to you, you may need to attend one of our private chemotherapy suites which are staffed by our specialist nurses. Our compassionate nursing teams are available 24/7 on a dedicated on-call telephone service and can answer any queries during your treatment. They’ll be able to provide advice about side effects or symptoms and help arrange appropriate medical care when needed.
Our centres have all received the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark to reflect the quality of care we provide for people living with cancer.
There are different types of drug treatments, also called systemic anti-cancer therapies. Our expert teams continually review and assess new treatments to make these available to GenesisCare patients as early as possible.
Chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer
Chemotherapy uses cytotoxic (anti-cancer) drugs to slow the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer can be delivered on its own or in combination with radiotherapy (chemoradiation). You’ll likely have chemotherapy or chemoradiation before surgery to reduce the size of your tumour before the operation, or after surgery to prevent cancer from coming back. Chemotherapy is also used when pancreatic cancer has spread to other organs.
If your cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it’s called advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer. At GenesisCare, you can receive palliative drug treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer. Palliative treatment can include chemotherapy to reduce the size and progress of your cancer, or other treatments that aim to ease any symptoms.
For some advanced cancers, we use specialist tests, such as liquid biopsy or genomic testing, to understand the genetic make-up of cancer cells. This helps us to identify which drugs are available to work against the particular genetic mutations in a cancer, allowing us to start effective treatment without delay.
There may also be opportunities to access clinical trials for the newest treatments for pancreatic cancer.
Drug treatment side effects
No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you depending on your drug treatment, together with how your treatment plan and supportive care can help manage or minimise these.
Radiotherapy uses targeted, high-energy radiation beams to destroy cancer cells. Radiotherapy can be delivered to treat pancreatic cancer or help relieve symptoms of advanced disease. You might also have radiotherapy in combination with chemotherapy (chemoradiation) before or after surgery.
At GenesisCare, we are the leading private provider of radiotherapy in the UK and offer world-class expertise and state-of-the-art facilities that specialise in advanced radiotherapy techniques. Our latest-generation radiotherapy machines (called linacs) deliver highly targeted radiation beams that are designed to be effective while minimising the radiation dose to healthy tissues.
Your treatment will be governed by our expert multidisciplinary teams (MDTs), consisting of oncologists, radiotherapists and dietitians, who work together to ensure that you only receive the best possible care.
Radiotherapy for pancreatic cancer
Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) is a modern radiotherapy technique that directs beams of radiation in an arc across the treatment area. Together with surface-guided radiotherapy (SGRT), it’s possible to precisely target areas of cancer, adjusting the beam and intensity of the radiation dose to allow for movements in the body and avoid healthy tissues. Side effects of radiotherapy occur when healthy tissues receive radiation, so using this technique helps to limit the dose to tissues and organs surrounding the tumour. At GenesisCare, we offer VMAT wherever possible because it is widely recognised to be the highest standard of care currently available for patients needing this type of radiotherapy.
Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) is a high-precision form of radiotherapy that allows large doses of radiation to be accurately delivered to a target while keeping the surrounding areas within a much lower dose.
At GenesisCare, we have the UK’s first MRIdian MR linac machine, which delivers MRI-guided SABR. MRI-guided SABR uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with live images to see exactly where a tumour is at the same time as treating it. This next-generation technology automatically shuts off the radiation beam when the tumour moves out of the target area, for example, due to breathing. This means SABR can be delivered effectively by avoiding the healthy pancreatic tissue and organs surrounding the tumours, such as the stomach and small bowel. For pancreatic cancers, this provides an alternative to surgery and other treatments that may not suit some patients.
For patients who have previously undergone radiotherapy, SABR reirradiation (also known as repeat SABR) may be an option. At GenesisCare we deliver SABR reirradiation on the MRIdian. The advanced technology of the MRIdian means radiation is focused with increased accuracy on the tumour, minimising exposure to healthy surrounding tissues that may have already been exposed to radiation in the past.
We also offer palliative VMAT radiotherapy for those living with advanced pancreatic cancer, where it has spread elsewhere in the body, to improve pain and increase mobility. We understand that fast access to palliative care is paramount and can usually provide treatment within 48 hours of a planning imaging scan.
Side effects of radiotherapy
No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you start your course of radiotherapy, together with the ways your treatment plan and integrative care can help to manage or minimise these.
You can read more detail about our radiotherapy treatments below. If you’d like to find out more about your treatment options, contact us today for advice or to book an appointment.
Integrative cancer care
Integrative cancer care
At GenesisCare, we do more than just treat your cancer. As part of our unique and integrative approach to cancer care, you can expect the best possible care and a personalised treatment plan that includes access to life-changing therapies which are proven to improve cancer-related outcomes. These therapies will be tailored to you to help you manage and cope with your cancer as well as the specific side effects of treatment.
Exercise medicine is a personalised programme of carefully planned and supported physical activity that has been shown to improve outcomes for cancer patients, enhancing the quality of life and limiting the impact of cancer, such as by improving strength and reducing fatigue. One of our physiotherapists specialising in exercise for people living with cancer will provide a 12-week programme tailored to your needs and supported by our dedicated GenesisCare Exercise Medicine app. They’ll work closely with you to monitor changes in your health and support you throughout the programme to help you get the best results. This is available at selected GenesisCare centres.
We also offer a wellbeing expert and holistic therapies such as counselling, acupuncture, massage and reflexology through our unique partnership with the Penny Brohn UK charity. This service is available to all pancreatic cancer patients at any of our 14 UK centres.
Why choose us?
Why choose us?
GenesisCare is a leading private provider of cancer care, offering the latest innovations and techniques that are proven to be safe and effective. If you choose us for pancreatic cancer treatment you will be under the care of a team of experts, including consultant oncologists and surgeons. They will design a personalised care plan based around your diagnosis and preferences, with treatment starting within days if needed. Every patient is also supported through their journey with life-changing therapies, such as exercise medicine and psychological support.
Our dedicated cancer centres are convenient and easy-to-access. You can use your private medical insurance, and we’re recognised by all leading insurers.
Throughout COVID-19, our priority is to continue providing the very best cancer care with meticulous measures in place to ensure our patients receive the treatments they need safely and without delay. You can find out more about our COVID-19 safety measures here.
We are proud that so many patients rate our care as excellent as we help them through their cancer journey. Find out more about the unique experiences of people who have had their cancer diagnosis or treatment at GenesisCare in our patient stories section.
GenesisCare works with many leading and experienced cancer doctors who share our commitment to providing excellent patient care
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Exploring cancer care
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How can we help?
Accessing world-class cancer care is easier than you think. Follow these easy steps to get treatment, tests and scans, or a second opinion at GenesisCare, and find out the different ways of funding your cancer care.