The pancreas lies behind the stomach and in front of the spine. There are two kinds of cells in the pancreas, exocrine cells, and neuroendocrine cells. Exocrine pancreas cells make enzymes that are released into the small intestine to help the body digest food. Neuroendocrine pancreas cells (such as islet cells) make several hormones, including insulin and glucagon, that help control sugar levels in the blood.
Cancer that develops in the pancreas is considered gastrointestinal (GI) cancer. There are two types of pancreatic cancers. However, most often, pancreatic cancer starts in the ducts that carry pancreatic digestive juices, which are the exocrine cells. This type of cancer is called exocrine pancreatic cancer and is the most common pancreatic cancer diagnosis. The information on our website will focus on this type of pancreatic cancer.
Much less often, pancreatic cancer begins in the cells that make hormones. This type may be called neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer or islet cell cancer.
The GI cancer specialists at Compass Oncology offer personalized care for pancreatic cancers. We provide patients with comprehensive cancer care and the latest in cancer treatment at multiple locations. Our team includes medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, palliative care specialists, and more, who are experienced in care for pancreatic cancer patients and are here to help guide you through your cancer care journey.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the following information will help you further understand a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, staging the disease, and options for treatment. You can also request a consultation with one of our GI cancer specialists at our cancer centers in Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA, where they can answer questions specific to your individual situation.
After receiving a pancreatic cancer diagnosis, an oncologist will begin the process of staging pancreatic cancer. The information gained from staging helps GI cancer specialists determine the tumor size, whether it has invaded nearby tissues, and how far it has spread. This also helps guide a recommended treatment path for your diagnosis.
Based on various factors, such as the type of pancreatic cancer you have, its stage, and your overall health, our oncologists will work together with you to develop a pancreatic cancer treatment plan that’s best for you.
Compass Oncology participates in clinical trials through Sarah Cannon Research Institute (SCRI), a joint venture with US Oncology Research that offers pancreatic cancer clinical research trials for patients in the Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA, areas. Our patients have participated in clinical research trials that have led to new cancer therapies being approved by the FDA.
Palliative care is important for patients and their loved ones at every step of the cancer journey. Find out how our palliative care team, which includes doctors, nurses, social workers, and dietitians, can help with a number of challenges you may face throughout treatment. They provide you with the tools you need to enhance your emotional well-being, your quality of life, and your communication with the care team.
About 10% of pancreatic cancers are related to an inherited BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. The Compass Oncology genetic counselors are available to discuss your family history and to conduct testing, if necessary, to see if there may be a possible genetic connection. This can also guide future medical decisions for you and your family members.
Compass Oncology offers appointments at multiple locations across Portland and Vancouver with a team of professionals, including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, palliative care specialists, and more. Our team is experienced in pancreatic cancer care and is here to help guide you through your cancer care journey.