Cancer care: Pancreatic cancerSkip section navigation
Your care team
Our experts work as a team to support your physical and emotional needs. Your pancreatic cancer care team may include doctors and other health care professionals.
Your primary care provider guides your overall medical care. This is the first medical professional you should go to about any health concern.
Surgeons with special training can remove tumors from the pancreas.
Medical oncologists coordinate cancer care through the course of the disease. They also prescribe chemotherapy and other anti-cancer drugs, as well as pain medicine.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill bacteria, viruses, fungi, and cancer cells.
Radiation oncologists stop the growth of cancer cells with radiation therapy.
Radiation therapy uses high powered x-rays or radioactive seeds to kill cancer cells.
A computed tomography (CT) scan is an imaging method that uses x-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the body.
A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is an imaging test that uses a radioactive substance (called a tracer) to look for disease in the body.
An endoscopic ultrasound exam allows your doctor to see if there is anything abnormal in your digestive tract (esophagus, stomach and upper small bowel) and other organs in this area.
Pathologists work in the medical laboratory, where they examine cells, body fluids and tissue samples for traces of cancer.
Gastroenterologists diagnose and treat problems with the digestive system, which includes the pancreas. They can use endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography ECRP and endoscopic ultrasound to find tumors in the pancreas.
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a procedure used to identify stones, tumors, or narrowing in the bile ducts. The procedure is done through an endoscope.
Other cancer care team members
Nurse coordinators meet with patients and their families to provide support and help them navigate the medical system. The same nurse coordinator can support a patient from diagnosis through treatment and follow-up.
Genetic counselors address concerns about inheriting cancer.
Healing coaches offer support, information and referrals for complementary therapies. While bridging the worlds of mainstream and alternative medicine, they can help address concerns and feelings raised by pancreatic cancer.
Questions for your cancer care team
You, your family and friends will have many questions even before you have met with anyone on your cancer care team.
Bringing family members or friends to appointments is often comforting. The additional set of ears can be helpful as well.
Writing down your questions before the appointment is the best way to make sure any issues are addressed. Be sure to leave space so you can write down the answers.
This list of basic questions may be a helpful start: