What Is Whipple Surgery for Pancreatic Cancer?

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Whipple surgery is the most common surgery used to treat pancreatic cancer patients when the cancer is still in the early stages. Introduction of Whipple Surgery: The classic Whipple procedure is named after Allen Whipple, the first American to perform the operation in 1935. The Whipple surgery involves removal of the head of the pancreas, the duodenum, a portion of the common bile duct, gallbladder and sometimes part of the stomach. Candidates of Whipple Surgery: Only about 20% of pancreatic cancer patients are eligible for the Whipple procedure and other surgeries. Their tumors are confined to the head of the pancreas and haven't spread into any nearby major blood vessels, the liver, lungs, or abdominal cavity. Patients usually need to go through intensive testing to identify possible candidates for the Whipple procedure. Complications after Whipple Surgery: Immediately after the Whipple procedure, patients could go through a number of complications.This includes:
  • Infections
  • Bleeding
  • Trouble with the stomach emptying itself after meals
  • Weight loss
  • Diabetes
Survival Rate after Whipple Surgery: Overall, the five-year survival rate after a Whipple procedure is about 20 to 25%. However, even if the visible tumor is removed, it's possible that some cancer cells have already spread elsewhere in the body, where they can form new tumors and eventually cause death. Keywords: whipple procedure pancreatic cancer, whipple surgery pancreatic cancer.