Pancreatic Cancer

These are only general guidelines and not meant to replace instructions from a physician. Please talk with your physician about your specific condition.

About The Condition

Pancreatic Cancer DiagramThe pancreas is part of your digestive system and sits right below and behind your stomach. It produces an enzyme-containing liquid that is released into the intestines to help your food digest. Pancreatic cancers fall into two categories: exocrine tumors, the most common, and endocrine tumors, also called islet cell tumors.
There are several types of pancreatic cancer, including:
Pancreatic adenocarcinoma. This starts in gland cells and may be called acinar cell carcinoma.
Solid pseudopapillary neoplasms. These slow-growing tumors often occur in young women and can spread to other parts of the body.
Ampullary cancer. This cancer forms where the bile duct and pancreatic duct come together. While not technically cancer, it is treated the same way as other pancreatic cancers.
Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Also called islet cell tumors, these tumors can be benign or cancerous. Some make hormones that are released into the blood and cause symptoms. When this happens, they are called functioning tumors and may include gastrinomas, insulinomas, glucagonomas, somatostatinomas, VIPomas or PPomas.
Non-functioning tumors. While these tumors don’t make enough hormones to cause symptoms, they are more likely to be cancer than functioning tumors.

Before Surgery

Prior to your surgery for pancreatic cancer, you may have radiation or chemotherapy to reduce the size of your tumor. Please ask your physician about these treatments. 

In addition you may be asked to:

Please ask your physician about any additional steps you should take before your surgery.


Our surgeons perform open surgery, as well as minimally invasive surgeries, for pancreatic cancer. Your surgeon will explain your particular procedure in more detail.

Minimally invasive surgery. Minimally invasive surgery is performed with traditional laparoscopy or robot-assisted surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System.

Open surgery. With open surgery, your physician will make an incision at the site of the abnormality large enough so he or she can see and touch your internal organs while operating. Your condition may require a Whipple procedure, which removes the head of the pancreas, first part of the small intestine, gallbladder, distal part of the bile ducts and sometimes part of the stomach. The bile ducts, pancreas and stomach are then reconnected to the small intestine to enable digestion to occur. This is more extensive surgery and requires a longer recovery time. 

After Surgery

If you have additional questions, please contact us at 763.780.6699.

Surgeons Who Treat Pancreatic Cancer

Jonathan C. Gipson, MD

Special Medical Interests:

  • Gastrointestinal surgery
  • Pancreas and foregut (esophagus and stomach) cancer surgery
  • Complex laparoscopic and robotic surgical procedures, including gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and hiatal hernia
  • Emergency surgical procedures
  • Surgical management of trauma
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Kamrun Jenabzadeh, MD

Special Medical Interests:

  • Robotic assisted surgery
  • Advanced laparoscopy
  • Reflux disease
  • Achalasia
  • Gallbladder pathology
  • Benign and malignant gastrointestinal pathology
  • Colorectal oncology
  • Complex hernias
  • Groin hernias
  • Complex ventral and hiatal hernias
  • Endocrine, such as adrenal, thyroid and parathyroid diseases
  • Diastasis recti
  • Colonic endometriosis
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