This is an aggressive malignant tumor originating in the pancreatic gland. It is characterised by early invasion of the lymph nodes and anatomic structures close by like the biliary tract, duodenum, and large vessels within the abdominal cavity. In the large majority of patients at the time of initial diagnosis the tumor is already in an advanced stage and non-resectable. In about half of the patients there are also metastases in the liver or other organs.
What are the typical symptoms of pancreatic cancer ?
With the exception of a sudden jaundice (icterus) by biliary tract obstructions via a tumor in the pancreatic head, symptoms are rather uncharacteristic and they usually occur late, in an advanced stage of the tumor: abdominal pain, in many patients intensive, sometimes irradiating in the back, and improvement with bending forward. Weight loss due to loss of appetite and alteration of the food digestion. Newly diagnosed diabetes (elevation of the blood sugar) in elderly patients. Rare symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, rarely depressions and thromboses, the latter of which are caused by a hypercoagulability of the blood.
How can I help in case of a suspected pancreatic tumor?
Please contact me as soon as possible, ideally via my mobile phone 0664 206 74 80 and fix an appointment in my private praxis. During the first consultation we will discuss current symptoms and how to proceed in the present situation in detail. I will examine you physically. To counteract existing complaints I will prescribe you effective symptomatic medications. We will discuss the next diagnostic steps and I will organise these examinations for you. In addition to a laborchemical examination it will be necessary to assess the stage of the disease by a CT scan. In most patients it is also necessary to make a biopsy of the tumor. In case of an obstruction of the biliary ducts, certain examinations like an ERCP have to be done. Ideally in one and the same diagnostic session a stent can be implantet to counteract the bilary tract obstruction. I will help you to organise all these examinations as soon as possible.
What are the next steps after having diagnosed pancreatic cancer ?
The treatment of patients with this highly malignant tumor should be managed by a medical center with expertise, ideally at the Medical University Hospital / in the AKH. Here all these patients will be discussed in an interdisciplinary expert tumor board, where pancreatic surgeons, gastroenterologists, clinical oncologist, radiooncologists, interventional radiologists and pathologists will participate. An individualised optimal treatment concept will be defind, which corresponds with international treatment standards.
In early stages of the disease (localised tumor in the pancreas, no abdominal blood vessel infiltration, no metastases), the first step of treatment will be tumor resection by an experienced surgeon. I will recommend you one of our best experts.
Because of the high risk of recurrence of these tumors despite potential curative surgery, in almost all patients postoperative chemotherapy will be required, which i will coordinate for you.
In the case of inoperability of the tumor, I will also coordinate performance of a usually well tolerated chemotherapy plus an eventual additional radiotherapy at a later time point when the tumor seems to be locally advanced but still not resectable.
Duration of treatment ?
This depends on the stage of the disease and the aim of treatment. Usually this will take several months.
Costs of treatment?
The expenses for diagnostic procedures and treatment at the Medical University in Vienna or in a private hospital will be refunded by the public or a private health insurance. My personal honoration will be 180 Euro for the first examination. Your health insurance will also refund this amount by up to 80%, which a physician with a public insurance contract would charge you. Private insurances usually refund the entire honorarium.