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Palliative and oncological management of pancreatic cancer

Tom Gallagher, Rowan Parks
Published in : HAMDAN MEDICAL JOURNAL ; Vol 8, No 2 (2015)
DOI : 10.7707/hmj.438


Pancreatic cancer is among the most difficult cancers to manage owing to a lack of early symptoms, early metastatic spread and debilitating cachexia quite unlike that seen in most other tumours. Up to 80% of patients will have metastatic or locally advanced disease at the time of presentation and therefore the mainstay of management in the majority of cases is symptomatic with or without the addition of systemic treatment, depending on patient factors. This review focuses on oncological strategies for advanced pancreatic cancer from standard gemcitabine-based therapies to the more recently reported molecular profiling-based strategies that are becoming the mainstay of treatment in recent years. In a disease with such a guarded prognosis, symptom management and maximizing quality of life is of utmost importance; here, we also review the multidisciplinary management of biliary obstruction, gastric outlet obstruction, pain, cachexia and the risk of thromboembolism.


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