Pancreatic Cancer Treatment & Surgery

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Houston Methodist’s experts use a team-based approach to offer the most advanced pancreatic cancer treatment options available. We provide advanced cancer care at seven locations across the Greater Houston area, allowing you or your loved one to receive treatment close to home or work.

Our Approach to Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

When you choose our pancreatic care team at Houston Methodist, you're benefitting from a personalized treatment plan designed by a team of pancreatic cancer specialists, including medical, radiation and surgical oncologists and gastroenterologists. We offer the latest treatments and our surgeons also have extensive expertise performing the Whipple procedure, a complex procedure often needed to treat pancreatic cancer.


Additionally, our pancreatic cancer experts include researchers and physician-scientists dedicated to finding new ways to treat pancreatic cancer more effectively. This often means our patients have access to clinical trials offering potentially promising treatments not available elsewhere.

Pancreatic Cancer Treatments We Offer

Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, your care team may use one or more of the following pancreatic cancer treatment options:

Surgery for Pancreatic Cancer

The following surgical procedures may be used to remove the cancer from the pancreas:

  • Whipple procedure (pancreaticoduodenectomy) – used to resect tumors located in the head of the pancreas. The first part of the small intestine (duodenum), gallbladder, part of the bile duct and nearby lymph nodes are typically removed as well.
  • Removal of the pancreatic body and tail (distal pancreatectomy) – used to resect tumors located in the left side of the pancreas. The spleen may also be removed.
  • Removal of the entire pancreas (pancreatectomy) – total removal of the pancreas

Chemotherapy for Pancreatic Cancer

Chemotherapy kills pancreatic cancer cells using drugs that are given intravenously by IV or orally.


If the cancer is localized to the pancreas, chemotherapy may be combined with radiation therapy in a treatment called chemoradiation. It's sometimes given before surgery to shrink the tumor and help make surgical resection more successful. Or, it may be used after surgery to help ensure no cancer cells remain.

Radiation Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells in a specific area. In the treatment of pancreatic cancer, radiation therapy may be used before or after surgery, or as an alternative treatment if surgery is not an option.

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