At UCLA, we understand how frightening a pancreatic cancer diagnosis can be. Our integrated clinic helps patients get pancreatic disease treatment faster, shortening the time to surgery for eligible patients.
As a major research institution, UCLA offers pancreatic cancer treatment options and clinical trial opportunities not available at most facilities. Our surgeons operate on more than 100 patients each year, making our team one of the most experienced in southern California.
We also have a dedicated neuroendocrine tumor program with a tumor board that meets regularly. More information to this program can be found at nuc.uclahealth.org/net-program.
Pancreatic cancer is a disease where normal pancreas cells grow uncontrollably. This growth can interfere with the function of the pancreas and surrounding organs like the bile duct, liver and gallbladder.
There are two main types of pancreatic cancer: pancreatic adenocarcinoma and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is the most common type of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic NETs, which occur in the hormone-producing, or endocrine, cells of the pancreas, make up less than 5 percent of pancreatic cancers.
There are several types of NETs. They can be either malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous).
Pancreatic NETs are often slow-growing. Even when tumors cannot be removed, patients can live a long time with few symptoms.
Our doctors diagnose pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors with imaging tests and by analyzing biopsy samples in the lab. People with a family history of other cancers may also be at risk for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Because of this connection, we also provide genetic counseling to help patients get diagnosed earlier.
UCLA offers some of the most advanced imaging and diagnosis available for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, including:
While a pancreatic cancer diagnosis can be scary, patients should know there are many 5-year survivors, even for those with advanced stages of the disease. New treatments and drugs offer a better chance for long-term survival, and there is hope for a cure.
Pancreatic cancer treatment typically involves some combination of surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation:
Learn more about pancreatic disease treatment at UCLA.
For more information or to make an appointment with our team of specialists, please call us at (310) 206-6889.