A pancreatic cancer diagnosis can feel overwhelming. The compassionate experts at Cleveland Clinic in Florida design individualized therapies to treat all pancreatic cancers.

Pancreatic Cancer Care at Cleveland Clinic in Florida: Why Choose Us?

Our pancreatic cancer work together to quickly diagnose tumors so you can begin treatment right away. You’ll benefit from:

  • Highly specialized providers: Accurate diagnosis of pancreatic tumors is critical to designing therapies that offer the best health outcomes. Our pathologists and cancer geneticists are experts in understanding the unique genetic makeup of every pancreatic tumor. We use this knowledge to personalize your treatment.
  • Collaborative approach: At Cleveland Clinic in Florida, each of our dedicated pancreatic cancer experts contributes to your care. Our multispecialty team includes board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists with years of experience and education in diagnosing and treating cancers of the pancreas. You’ll see gastroenterologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and surgeons who treat cancers of the biliary system, liver and pancreas (hepatopancreatobiliary surgeons).
  • Patient-first culture: We focus on you and your treatment experience. Our specialists take the time to learn about you and your health goals. Your personal patient navigator helps schedule appointments and ensures you have the information you need to understand your options.
  • National recognition: Our cancer programs have earned many accreditations and other awards and recognition. You can be confident in the expertise of our physicians.
Pancreatic Cancers We Treat

Pancreatic Cancers We Treat

Your pancreas is a fish-shaped organ with three sections — a head, body and tail. Tumors may form in cells in any part of the pancreas. Our experts diagnose and treat all types of pancreatic cancer:

  • Exocrine cancer: Exocrine cancers are tumors that form in cells that make enzymes to help digest food (exocrine cells). About 95% of pancreatic cancers are adenocarcinomas that begin in exocrine cells in the pancreatic ducts.
  • Endocrine cancer: Endocrine pancreatic cancers begin in cells in glands that secrete hormones into your blood vessels (islet cells). These tumors are pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.
  • Ampullary cancer: The ampulla of Vater is the area where the pancreas meets the beginning of the small intestine (duodenum). Tumors that develop in this area are ampullary cancer.
Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis

Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis

Our experts diagnose pancreatic tumors with precision. We use advanced techniques to determine tumor size and location (cancer stage) and whether cancer has spread (metastasized). We use what we learn to develop your treatment plan. You may have:

Imaging tests

Specialists use imaging tests to identify tumors and learn whether cancer has spread to other organs. Our pancreatic radiology experts have specific expertise in pancreatic anatomy and in visualizing and diagnosing tumors of the pancreas. Cleveland Clinic in Florida also has specialized PET scan technology to detect neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas. We also use:

Endoscopic procedures

Experts insert a thin instrument with a light and camera (endoscope) into your throat to view your stomach and duodenum. We take detailed images and may retrieve a tissue sample (biopsy) for our pathologist to examine under a microscope. You may have:

Blood tests

We draw a sample of your blood and test it for certain substances. These tests tell us if pancreatic cancer has affected your liver and about the genetic makeup of tumors. We may do:

  • Enzyme and protein tests: We use blood tests for cancer to learn if cancer cells are moving through your bloodstream, known as circulating tumor DNA. This information helps us determine tumor stage and can tell us how you’re responding to treatment. These tests may also help us determine if you have specific genetic changes in the tumor (tumor biomarkers) that we can target with therapies.
  • Liver enzyme tests: We check levels of liver enzymes in your blood. Liver function tests help us learn whether cancer has spread to your liver.
Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

Our physicians determine the location, stage and genetic profile of pancreatic tumors to individualize your care. We present your treatment options and make sure you understand the risks and benefits of each therapy. We may recommend:

Surgery for pancreatic cancer

When pancreatic tumors are removable, our hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB) surgeons may remove them with minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. These surgeries offer faster healing, shorter hospital stays and fewer complications. We perform:

  • Distal pancreatectomy: During distal pancreatectomy, surgeons remove the tail and body of the pancreas. We may also perform splenectomy during this surgery.
  • Total pancreatectomy: Experts remove the entire pancreas, gallbladder, spleen, duodenum and part of your stomach.
  • Whipple procedure: Specialists perform pancreaticoduodenectomy (Whipple procedure) to remove the head of the pancreas, gallbladder, bile duct and part of the small intestine.

Radiation therapy for pancreatic cancer

Our radiation oncology experts use specialized techniques to shrink large pancreatic tumors and make surgery possible. You may have radiation therapy along with chemotherapy (known as chemoradiation) before or after surgery. We also use radiation therapy to help manage symptoms of advanced disease.

Systemic therapy for pancreatic cancer

Our medical oncologists use drugs that travel through your bloodstream to target pancreatic cancer cells. We use what we know about the tumor’s genetic makeup (molecular profile or tumor biomarkers) to recommend the best systemic therapy for you. You may have:

Procedures to relieve pain and symptoms

Our experts may perform certain procedures to improve your quality of life when they can’t remove pancreatic tumors. We may recommend:

  • Biliary bypass: Surgeons make an incision in the abdomen and restructure bile ducts to improve bile flow when tumors block ducts. This surgery helps prevent bile from backing up in your body and causing symptoms like jaundice.
  • Endoscopic stent: We use an endoscope to insert a small metal tube into the common bile duct. The tube helps keep the duct open when tumors block bile flow.
Our Doctors

Our Doctors

Appointments & Locations Research & Clinical Trials

Research & Clinical Trials

The physicians at Cleveland Clinic in Florida continuously study emerging therapies to treat pancreatic and other cancers in clinical trials. Specialists in our Florida Research and Innovation Center also research new cancer treatments and ways to improve your quality of life during treatment. Search for a clinical trial and ask your doctor if you’re eligible to participate in a research study.

Palliative & Supportive Care

Palliative & Supportive Care

Coping with a pancreatic cancer diagnosis and treatment may feel challenging. Our supportive care team helps you manage life with cancer. You’ll find services and therapies to help you feel better during and after treatment in our cancer palliative and supportive care program.