Pancreatic cancer: surgery alone is not sufficient

  • L. W. TraversoEmail author


For a patient with resected pancreatic cancer at the head of the pancreas, the goal of the medical community in the new millennium is a long-term survival rate exceeding 50% at 5 years. This goal can best be achieved with the following formula: accurate staging by improved imaging that includes laparoscopy for selected patients with locally extensive disease using computed tomography; a balanced resection, not too extensive and not too limited; centralized treatment in high-volume centers, which includes not just the surgeons and hospitals, but also the chemotherapy infusion units; and use of an effective adjuvant or neoadjuvant treatment in which toxicity is associated with efficacy. The ideal outcome for the surgeon is delivery of a patient who has been accurately staged to receive the most appropriate treatment in a timely fashion for an effective chemoradiotherapy protocol. To do this, the surgeon should use objective benchmarks of safe pancreatic resection, which involves resecting only enough, achieving low blood loss, and achieving a minimal length of hospital stay. The outcome is a patient who has optimized his or her gastrointestinal, endocrine, and exocrine functions and is ready for adjuvant treatment 6 weeks after resection. Surgery alone is not sufficient.


Accurate staging Adjuvant treatment Balanced resection Centralized treatment Neoadjuvant treatment Pancreatic cancer 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of General, Thoracic, and Vascular SurgeryVirginia Mason Medical CenterSeattleUSA

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