The pancreas is located behind the stomach, between the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) and the spleen, and in front of the spine. It helps in food digestion. The gland has three parts called the head (the wider end), middle, and tail. All or part of the pancreas is removed depending on the location of the cancer tumor.

Types of Pancreatic Cancer Surgery

Our surgical oncologists are experts in treating pancreatic surgery. Using a variety of techniques, our surgeons will discuss the best approach to treating your pancreatic tumors. The pancreatic cancer surgeries include:

  • Distal pancreatectomy. Your surgeon removes the benign or malignant tumors in the body or tail of the pancreas; sometimes the spleen is removed.

  • Laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy. During this minimally invasive procedure, your surgeons will remove the benign or malignant tumors in the body or tail of the pancreas. It is performed laparoscopically, meaning the procedure is performed using smaller incisions.

  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy (Whipple procedure). This is a more complex procedure, in which the diseased portion of your pancreas is removed with some of the surrounding structures.

  • Total pancreatectomy. This is when your entire pancreas is removed. This surgery is performed when the cancer is very advanced.

Pancreatic Cancer Center of Excellence 

Wake Forest Baptist is designated as a Pancreatic Cancer Center of Excellence by the National Pancreas Foundation (NPF). We are one of only 82 in the country and one of only five in North Carolina to hold the designation, which recognizes health care facilities devoted to providing the best multidisciplinary, patient-centered treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Learn more about the Pancreatic Cancer Center designation.