Pancreatic cancer can be difficult to diagnose because the pancreas lies deep in the body, and because pancreatic cancer typically causes few symptoms. As a consequence, many people with pancreatic cancer are diagnosed after cancer has spread to other organs.
If you have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a large cancer center like Duke provides you with access to the latest diagnostic and treatment advances as soon as possible. Providing you with the best possible patient care is our number one priority.
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
Duke’s pancreatic cancer specialists are leaders in the use of imaging technologies, including endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), to find pancreatic cancer at the earliest, most treatable stage.
A tube with an ultrasound device at its tip is inserted through the mouth to create high-quality images of the pancreas and surrounding tissue. Our gastroenterologists may also use this technology to remove and sometimes biopsy tissue and suspicious lesions, which are tested to determine if cancer is present.
CT and MRI Scans
CT and MRI images of your pancreas and the surrounding area identify how large the tumor is, whether or not it involves additional organs or blood vessels, and whether or not it has spread to other organs.
Genetic Screening Tests
May be recommended if you have a family history of pancreatic cancer.
Why Choose Duke
Your Pancreatic Cancer Team
Our medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, and support team work together and meet weekly. Your personalized care is our goal.
Nutrition Is an Important Part of your Treatment
Our dedicated nutritionist evaluates all new patients and offers counseling on diet and supplements to enhance your recovery. If you require surgery, our nutritionist will help you progress to normal eating and digestion as quickly as possible, a major hurdle for many patients with pancreatic cancer.
High-Volume Whipple Center
About 100 Whipple procedures are performed at Duke annually. This complex procedure requires enormous surgical skill and a knowledgeable staff, both of which you’ll find at Duke. Studies show that patients who undergo a Whipple procedure in a major cancer center like ours experience fewer surgical complications, shorter hospital stays, and faster recovery.
Laparoscopic Whipple Experience
More than 100 laparoscopic Whipple procedures have been performed at Duke since we started doing this advanced, minimally invasive surgical procedure in 2010. Our experience has resulted in shorter operating times, less blood loss, and shorter hospital stays.
Nationally Recognized Experts
Our specialists are funded by the National Institutes of Health to study new ways to care for people with pancreatic cancer and precancerous lesions of the pancreas. Collectively, our findings have been published in more than 200 respected medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine. We are also part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving patient care.
Access to Clinical Trials
As part of a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, our pancreatic cancer team is recognized for exploring new therapies through ongoing research and clinical trials. As a Duke patient, you may be eligible to participate in clinical trials that are testing new therapies before they become widely available.
Support for You and Your Family
Our comprehensive support services range from helping patients minimize the side effects of treatment to coping with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment. View all of our cancer support groups in our event calendar.
Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital's cancer program is ranked among the nation's best by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.