Pancreatic cancer is a fast-growing cancer that originates just behind the stomach in the pancreas. The pancreas is a small organ that produces substances called enzymes and hormones, which help the body digest food and control the amount of sugar in the blood. There are two types of pancreatic cancer tumors: pancreatic adenocarcinoma tumors and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. The treatment for each type varies. Pancreatic adenocarcinoma tumors are much more common; nearly 54,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with them each year, or about 1 in every 62 adults. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors are less common, but they are being seen more often in recent times. Treating pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors is a complex process, but it in some cases it can be cured. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth-deadliest cancer because of the way it silently spreads before being detected.
Care is provided by an outstanding team that includes surgeons, diagnostic and interventional radiologists, medical and radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists, critical care intensivists, nurses, genetic counselors, and other specialists. Our standard of care begins with a timely and thorough initial assessment of each case, followed by same-day testing and/or intervention if necessary. Our collaborative team will then develop and implement a personalized care plan that best suits the needs and preferences of each individual patient. Our wide range of treatment options includes minimally invasive surgical, endoscopic, and radiologic techniques, as well as access to integrative medicine and supportive therapy.
We employ a unique approach to identifying and treating both pre-cancerous lesions of the pancreas and individuals who are at a higher risk of pancreatic cancer, in the hope of avoiding the development of cancers in the future. Patients found to have malignancies will be offered the opportunity to have their tumors tested through DNA sequencing, and, when possible, participate in appropriate research studies of promising new therapies.
We understand that a GI cancer diagnosis can produce a high level of stress for patients, so we provide a nurse navigator to help organize your care. A hallmark of the O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, our Nurse Navigator program helps streamline your introduction to UAB Medicine by arranging for your medical records, setting your appointments, and guiding you throughout the process. This allows your treatment team to deliver more efficient care.
Pancreatic Cancer: Facts & Figures
- Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic
Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic
The Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic takes an interdisciplinary approach to caring for patients with serious illnesses, whether they are in active treatment or have completed treatment. Our goal is to help patients fulfill their maximum physical, emotional, spiritual, vocational, and social potential.
The health professionals at the Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic help patients manage the side effects associated with cancer. Referrals to the Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic can be made by any treating physician or nurse or by patient self-referral. A broad range of insurance is accepted.
Patient appointment scheduling is flexible and based on patient needs and other concurrent treatments. Clinic sessions are held Wednesday and Friday mornings with palliative care physicians and fellows. A physician assistant is available Monday through Friday.
Physicians and physician assistants have special expertise in complex symptom management including depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, loss of appetite, pain syndromes, and others.
Nurses support patients by facilitating the clinic sessions as well as managing communication with patients. They are the front line of patient care.
Physical therapists develop individualized programs for each patient to help with coordination, balance, strength, endurance, flexibility, or range of motion. Counselors are experienced in structuring counseling sessions to meet the specific needs of each person. Individual, couple, and family sessions are available.
Nutritionists have expertise in nutrition for patients with serious illnesses.
Massage therapists are trained in all types of massage, including oncology massage, which is a specialized approach that supports the body's health before, during, and after treatment for cancer.
Our clinic is an active teaching environment with fellows, residents, and students in both medicine and nursing participating in patient care.
The UAB Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic is located on the 3rd floor of The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital.
Patients can request an appointment online or by calling UAB Healthfinder at 205.934.9999 or 800.822.8816.