Tumors of the Pancreas | Diagnosis & Treatment

How are tumors of the pancreas diagnosed? 

The first step in treating your child is forming an accurate and complete diagnosis. Your child’s physician may order a number of different tests including:

There may be other diagnostic tests that your doctor will discuss with you depending on your child's individual situation. After we complete all necessary tests, our experts meet to review and discuss what they have learned about your child's condition. Then, we will meet with you and your family to discuss the results and outline the best possible treatment options.

What are the treatment options for tumors of the pancreas?

Treatment for your child's pancreatic tumor will depend on the type and location of the tumor. Your child's doctor may recommend:

Different groups of chemotherapy drugs work in different ways. Your child may receive chemotherapy orally, intramuscularly, intravenously or intrathecally as a direct injection into the spinal column through a needle. Often, a combination of chemotherapy drugs is used.

While chemotherapy can be quite effective in treating certain cancers, the drugs cannot differentiate normal healthy cells from cancer cells. As a result, there can be adverse side effects during treatment. Being able to anticipate these side effects can help the care team, child, and family prepare and, in some cases, prevent these complications from occurring, if at all possible.

What is the long-term outlook for children with tumors of the pancreas?

Your child’s prognosis will depend on the type of tumor he or she has, the specific location of the tumor in the pancreas, whether it is benign or malignant, and whether it has spread. Children treated for tumors of the pancreas should visit a survivorship clinic yearly. Through the David B. Perini Jr. Quality of Life Clinic, our cancer survivorship clinic, childhood cancer survivors receive a comprehensive follow-up evaluation from their cancer care team. In addition to meeting with your pediatric oncologists, your child may see one of our endocrinologists, cardiologists, neurologists, neuro-psychologists, or alternative/complementary therapy specialists. We also offer patient and family education, psychosocial assessment, genetic counseling, reproductive counseling, and opportunities to speak with other childhood cancer survivors.