Pancreatic Cancer


Pancreatic cancer starts in the pancreas, an organ located just behind the stomach. The pancreas helps digest food by making digestive enzymes. The pancreas also makes hormones, such as insulin, to help to balance blood sugar levels.



  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.

  • Diabetes medicine: You may need to take medicine to control your blood sugar level.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your oncologist as directed:

You will need to see your oncologist for ongoing treatment. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Wound care:

Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you care for your wound. This can help to prevent an infection. Ask for information about how and when to clean your wound.

  • If the bandage sticks, use a small amount of water to loosen it. Carefully wash the wound with gauze and the solution suggested by your primary healthcare provider. Clean the wound in a circle-like motion starting from the inside going to the outside of the wound. Repeat, using new gauze. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty.

  • If you had surgery, you may have a stent (thin tube) placed in your wound to drain fluid. It may be hooked to a suction contain to collect the fluid. Empty the suction container into the toilet.


  • Rest as needed: Return to activities slowly, and do more as you feel stronger.

  • Eat healthy foods: Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Several small meals a day may be easier to eat than a few large meals. You may need to change the way you eat to control your blood sugar levels. A dietitian may help you plan healthy meals. Ask if you need to include pancreatic enzyme supplements to help with digestion.

  • Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. Ask for information if you need help quitting.

For support and information:

  • American Cancer Society
    250 Williams Street
    Atlanta , GA 30303
    Phone: 1- 800 - 227-2345
    Web Address:

Contact your oncologist if:

  • You have chills, cough, or feel weak.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have a fever.

  • Your wound is swollen, red, or has pus coming from it.

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.

  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You cough up blood.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Pancreatic Cancer (Discharge Care)