Surgery may be necessary to treat pancreatic cancer.
There are two types of surgery for pancreatic cancer: potentially curative (done when tests suggest that all the cancer can be removed), and palliative (performed to relieve symptoms when the cancer is unable to be completely removed).
The most common potentially curative surgery is called a pancreaticoduodenectomy, or Whipple procedure, where the head and sometimes the body of the pancreas are removed. In some cases, parts of the small intestines, bile duct, gallbladder, lymph nodes, and stomach may also be removed.
For palliative surgery a surgeon may place a stent in the bile duct to relieve a blocked duct, or perform a procedure to bypass the pancreas.