Nearly all patients with pancreatic cancer will die of their disease. Most treatments aim to extend life without introducing excessive toxicity.

Benefits and Detriments

Localised Resectable Disease


Perioperative mortality is < 5% in centralised centres with surgical experience.

Removal of a large part of the pancreas may have both endocrine and exocrine effects.

  • Loss of large volumes of pancreatic islets may lead to insufficient insulin production. This can cause diabetes or worsen pre-existing diabetes.
    • Patients should have sugar levels monitored in the post-operative and adjuvant periods.
  • Loss of exocrine function leads to fat malabsorption. The symptoms of this condition include steatorrhoea, weight loss and abdominal pain.
    • These symptoms can be ameliorated somewhat with the use of oral pancreatic enzymes (eg. CreonTM). This replaces some of the normal function of the pancreas and improves fat absorption

Adjuvant Radiotherapy

Adjuvant Chemotherapy

Adjuvant Chemoradiotherapy

Neoadjuvant Therapies

Localised Unresectable Disease


Primary Radiotherapy

Primary Chemotherapy

Primary Chemoradiotherapy

Neoadjuvant Chemoradiotherapy

Metastatic Disease

Follow up

Salvage Therapies

Management of Toxicities