In situ (Stage 0) Pancreatic Cancer Treatment


Pancreatic cancer that has been diagnosed as Stage 0 (Tis, N0, M0), also referred to as “pancreatic carcinoma in situ,” means that abnormal cells have been found within the top layers of the cells of the pancreas but they have not yet spread into deeper tissues of the pancreas. Very few cases of pancreatic cancer are diagnosed at this stage.

Typical treatment options for Stage 0 pancreatic cancer may include one or more of the following:

The extent of surgery depends largely on the size of the tumor and where it is located on the pancreas. For cancer diagnosed as Stage 0, surgery may be performed in order to remove the abnormal cells.
Radiation Therapy
This method, which uses high energy rays to kill the cancer cells, may be used before or after surgery to try to get rid of any cancerous cells that may remain in the area following surgery.
Several different forms of chemotherapy can be used to treat pancreatic cancer and may be given alone, or following surgery and radiation therapy.

The TNM System for cancer staging

The stage of pancreatic cancer at diagnosis is typically determined by a staging system developed by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) called the TNM System, which evaluates the tumor based on the following criteria:

T Category
Describes the size of the primary pancreatic tumor, which is measured in centimeters, and whether or not the cancer has spread throughout the pancreas.
N Category
Whether or not the pancreatic cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes
M Category
The absence or presence of distant metastasis

Since pancreatic cancer is hard to diagnosis, especially in the early stages, other terms are more often used to simplify the staging of this disease. These include:

This means that the cancer is only in the pancreas and the entire tumor can be surgically removed.
Unresectable or Locally Advanced
These terms refer to the fact that the pancreatic cancer has not yet spread to other parts of the body, but the entire tumor cannot be surgically removed from the pancreas.
This term refers to the fact that the pancreatic cancer has spread to other organs. While surgery may be performed remove the tumor, it will likely only relieve symptoms rather that cure the cancer.

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