CHC – The Cancer & Hematology Centers

Pancreatic Cancer Treatment Near You in Michigan

A pancreatic cancer diagnosis can be a life-changing event. However, there are many different treatment options for this condition so you can control it and focus on living your best life.

Discover more about this condition and the options for pancreatic treatment near you in Michigan.

Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

Your pancreas is an organ found behind your stomach. It makes hormones to regulate your blood sugar levels and produces digestive juices to help your body break down food. Because of its location and role in your body, pancreatic cancer rarely causes symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage. However, some common symptoms of pancreatic cancer may include:

  • Pain in the belly that spreads to the sides or back
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin
  • Light-colored or floating stools
  • Dark urine
  • Itching
  • Fatigue
  • Sudden onset of diabetes
  • Diabetes that’s becoming harder to control
  • Pain and swelling in the arms or legs

Types of Pancreatic Cancer

Your oncologist may recommend different types of treatment depending on which type of pancreatic cancer you have. Pancreatic cancer is generally a very slow-moving disease, with a single cancer cell sometimes taking up to 20 years to turn into a tumor.

The two types of pancreatic cancer are:

  • Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma: This is the most common type of pancreatic cancer. It starts in the ducts of the pancreas and can spread to other parts of the body.
  • Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors: These tumors are less common. They originate from the cells in the pancreas that make hormones like insulin.

Like other types of cancer, all forms of pancreatic cancer range from stage I to stage IV, depending on how much the disease has grown and spread to other parts of the body.

Pancreatic Cancer Treatment Options

The type of pancreatic cancer treatment you receive depends on the stage of the disease, as well as other factors your oncologist will talk about like the type of pancreatic cancer you have. If you have any genetic conditions, those may also help your doctor decide which treatment option is best for you.


If your cancer is still in its early stages and has not spread to other parts of the body, your oncology team may be able to cure it with surgery. However, this option isn’t right for everyone. 

The type of surgery you might receive depends on where in the pancreas your cancer is located. Some of the operations for pancreatic cancer surgery include:

  • Surgery to remove the head of the pancreas
  • Surgery to remove the body or tail of the pancreas
  • Removal of the pancreas altogether
  • Surgery for cancer in the blood vessels near the pancreas


Chemotherapy uses powerful medicines to attack and destroy cancer cells throughout the body. Your oncology team may give it to you either through an IV or as oral medications.

If your pancreatic cancer isn’t treatable with surgery, chemotherapy may be what your cancer care team recommends first. Doctors also use it to treat cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Some people also receive both chemotherapy and radiation therapy at the same time to shrink tumors.

Radiation Therapy

For pancreatic cancer, radiation therapy (sometimes called radiotherapy) uses X-rays, gamma rays, or beams of other atomic particles to kill cancer cells at precise points in your body. This can cause tumors to shrink and make them easier to remove with surgery.

Radiation therapy is painless. It also won’t make you radioactive after you finish a round of treatment, so it’s safe to be around other people afterward.

Immunotherapy for Pancreatic Cancer

Your immune system doesn’t usually detect cancer cells as a threat on its own. However, immunotherapy uses medicine to train your immune system to find and destroy cancer cells.

If your pancreatic cancer shows specific DNA changes during diagnostic tests, you may be a good candidate for immunotherapy as a treatment option.

Targeted Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer

Like chemotherapy, targeted therapy uses specialized medicine to attack cancer cells in your body. However, unlike chemotherapy, targeted therapy medication only attacks certain proteins that control how your cancer cells grow and spread, rather than every type of fast-growing cell in your body.

Palliative Care for Pancreatic Cancer

Abdominal pain is a common byproduct of treatment for pancreatic cancer. Palliative care is designed to control your pain during treatment. 

Your cancer care team will provide recommendations for pain management throughout your treatment. These include oral or injected medicines like the celiac plexus block, which keeps the nerves around your pancreas from sending pain signals to your brain. Your oncologist might also recommend pancreatic enzymes, which help ease the bloating, abdominal pain, and greasy stools that are common with pancreatic cancer treatment.

Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials

Since pancreatic cancer can be challenging to treat after it’s most commonly detected, many patients undergo clinical trials for their treatment. This gives them access to forms of treatment that may not be widely available for years and are potentially more effective than existing treatments.

Since pancreatic cancer has a relatively low survival rate for later stages, clinical trials are actively underway to improve the prognosis for this disease.

The Best Treatment Center for Pancreatic Cancer in Michigan

Every case of pancreatic cancer is unique. That’s why at The Cancer & Hematology Centers, we treat every person’s diagnosis as an individual case. We’re proud to be one of the premier pancreatic cancer treatment centers in Michigan, offering multiple types of treatment and cutting-edge clinical trials to set you on the path to recovery.

Learn More About Pancreatic Cancer Treatment at The CHC

Our team of oncologists and pancreatic cancer specialists is here to help you navigate your diagnosis and treatment. To learn more about pancreatic cancer treatment near you, call 800-411-7999 today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can You Survive Pancreatic Cancer?

Within the US, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is 11 percent. This low rate is partially due to the late stage when people are usually diagnosed.

However, it’s important to remember that survival rates are only statistics. They can’t tell how long you’ll live or how well you’ll respond to treatment. Your healthcare provider and behavioral oncology team can help you understand more about these survival rates and what they mean for you.

How Do You Test for Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer is hard to detect, especially in the early stages. If your doctor suspects you have pancreatic cancer, they’ll run a few different types of tests to learn about how your pancreas functions, including:

  • Imaging tests like MRIs or CT scans
  • Blood tests
  • Scopes with cameras or ultrasound features
  • Genetic testing

What Causes Pancreatic Cancer?

Anyone can get pancreatic cancer. However, certain risk factors can increase your chances of developing it over time. Some of these factors include:

It’s important to know that these risk factors don’t automatically mean you will develop pancreatic cancer. At the same time, you can also develop pancreatic cancer without having any of these risk factors.