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Pancreatic Cancer


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Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, with a five-year survival rate of only 12%. It is currently the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States and is projected to become the second by 2030.

The pancreas is an organ located between the stomach and the spine. It makes enzymes that help you digest food and produces hormones (such as insulin and glucagon) that control blood sugar levels, helping the body use and store energy from food. The most common type of pancreatic cancer is called pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, or PDAC. It begins in the glands that produce the digestive enzymes. Cancers that occur from glands that produce hormones are called pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, or PNET.

Conditions and Treatments

Why Choose Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center?

Advanced treatment and research. Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only NCI-designated cancer center in South Florida. The team earned this distinction through its outstanding work conducting research in its laboratories, treating patients in its clinics and hospitals, and reaching out to medically underserved communities with innovative prevention strategies.

In 2022, Sylvester established the Sylvester Pancreatic Cancer Research Institute (SPCRI). This new center supports innovative research, increases collaborations between scientists and clinicians, spurs discovery of better biomarkers to guide therapies, and provides more treatment and clinical trial opportunities for patients. It combines Sylvester’s clinical excellence with world-class research to discover, develop, and deliver novel personalized treatments to pancreatic cancer patients. At Sylvester, we have long been ahead of the curve in linking science to clinical care. The SPCRI is a translational bridge, not just from the laboratory to the patient’s bedside, but also taking patients’ tumor samples and clinical information back to the laboratory to further our understanding of the disease. The SPCRI is where investigators study all facets of pancreatic cancer comprehensively and bring valuable data back to patients and oncologists to improve treatment outcomes.

Specialized care that improves outcomes. At our center, patients experience survival rates up to 14% higher than the national average for early- and late-stage pancreatic cancer. Our multi-disciplinary team of pancreas cancer experts offer innovative treatment approaches, high-tech and modern minimally invasive surgical approaches, ground-breaking clinical trials, and cutting-edge radiation technologies. We are committed to a thorough workup of your cancer to provide an individualized treatment strategy for your unique tumor so you may experience the best potential outcomes and the fewest possible side effects.

Advanced surgical oncology techniques There is a strong correlation between surgical outcomes for pancreatic cancer and the volume of pancreatic surgeries performed at a hospital. Sylvester Cancer Center is one of the busiest pancreas programs in the Southeast of the U.S., performing more than 80-90 pancreatic resections per year. At Sylvester, we have assembled a team of surgeons who have the highest level of training in pancreatic operations and who are committed to not only the best perioperative outcomes of their patients, but also are completely invested in their patients’ longevity and quality of life. Our research is focused on understanding the biology of pancreatic cancer so that we can better interpret clinical signals, identify those patients who respond the best to chemotherapies, and best select those patients who will benefit from surgical resection.

We tailor the treatments to the biology of the cancer, and to select those patients that will benefit most from surgical resection, offering state of the art neoadjuvant (preoperative) chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as several novel research studies spanning molecular biology to behavioral health interventions during your treatment. We offer cutting edge surgical techniques for pancreatic surgery, including minimally invasive and robotic surgery to improve surgical outcomes. In making these complex decisions, we utilize a multidisciplinary team that includes medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists, and interventional radiologists to care for our patients.

Advanced radiation oncology tools. Sylvester was the first cancer center in Florida, and the fourth in the country, to offer resonance magnetic-guided radiation therapy. Our team is a leader in the delivery of on-board adaptive radiation therapy, using the MRIdian and ETHOS systems. Our RapidArc® radiotherapy system delivers intensity-modulated external radiation therapy (IMRT), which can lead to more efficient and effective treatments, shorter treatment times, pinpoint accuracy in tumor targeting, and less damage to healthy tissue. We also offer proton beam therapy in our state-of-the-art Dwoskin Proton Center.

More cancer clinical trials than any other South Florida hospital. we provide easy access to the newest ways to treat and potentially cure your cancer. We are constantly evolving and developing new treatment strategies by identifying the genetic mutations driving your cancer to tailor treatments that are specific to your individual cancer. We are the only center in South Florida to offer the multinational Precision Promise™ trial through the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Multidisciplinary care teams. Your care team is made up of experts in all aspects of your exact type of cancer. All of your physicians, nurses, and other team members collaborate to save lives.

Other novel therapies. Sylvester was the the first in Florida to provide NanoKnife® (irreversible electroporation/IRE) radiosurgery for tumors that may not be operable. This therapy is performed under general anesthesia, produces little pain, requires only a brief hospital stay (usually overnight), and tends to cause fewer side effects.

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