Pancreatic cancer is very often diagnosed at stage 4. A mandatory component of complex treatment of recurrent and unresectable malignant tumors of the pancreas is a distant radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Poor tolerance of the conservative therapy determines the development and implementation of innovative treatment regimens.
Principles of stage 4 pancreatic cancer treatment in Germany
There are some key features of the treatment of stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The first one is that radical surgical interventions are not performed as they are very traumatic and dangerous, and they don’t allow curing the disease. Therefore, radiotherapy and therapy with medication become the main methods for restricting the disease progression.
Specialists in Germany apply proton therapy among other types of radiotherapy. The problem is that the pancreas is surrounded by functionally important organs, so it’s hard to deliver the necessary dose of radiation to the tumor without damaging them.
However, unlike photons, protons release energy upon reaching the target. So, with proton therapy, no radiation is released beyond the target at all. As a result, irradiation is safer. If necessary, physicians can even increase the radiation dose to achieve long-lasting local cancer control.
You can find more information about the principles of treatment of stage 4 pancreatic cancer in Germany on the Booking Health website.
Drug therapy for stage 4 pancreatic cancer
Drug treatment involves the use of the following methods:
- Chemotherapy – injecting cytostatics intravenously to slow down the growth of the tumor and its metastases
- Targeted therapy – EGFR inhibitors are used to block the growth receptors; PARP inhibitors and tropomyosin kinase receptor inhibitors are used to stop gene mutations
- Immunotherapy – checkpoint inhibitors are used only for pancreatic cancer with cells that have a high rate of mutations
The advantage of systemic drug therapy is that it affects all tumor cells throughout the body, with the disadvantages being systemic side effects. Unfortunately, the standard drug therapy for end-stage pancreatic cancer does not always work well. But in Germany, physicians additionally use targeted and immunotherapies, which increase the life expectancy of eligible patients by several years.
Symptomatic treatment for stage 4 pancreatic cancer
Most patients with advanced stages of pancreatic cancer experience unpleasant symptoms like pain, jaundice, and intestinal obstruction. To eliminate them, invasive procedures and surgeries might be required.
In case of abdominal pain, doctors at foreign clinics perform neurolysis of the celiac plexus to destroy the nerve tissues. The procedure can be performed as an independent manipulation with inserting a needle through the stomach or during a palliative surgical intervention.
Palliative treatment for stage 4 pancreatic tumors uses various approaches, including:
- Pain control with non-narcotic or narcotic analgesics
- Supportive therapy to manage side effects and better tolerate chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- Fighting malnutrition
- Bile outflow restoration (usually performed with a stent placement)
- Combating ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity)
How to travel for pancreatic cancer treatment in Germany during a lockdown?
In Germany, all modern methods of managing stage 4 pancreatic cancer are used, so it’s an incredible opportunity for patients to get medical care of different levels there.
If you have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer of the 4th stage, you need to get treatment as soon as possible. The lockdown restrictions stand in the way of quick and stress-free treatment, so it’s helpful to have some guidance and assistance.
Booking Health provides patients with the necessary services to exclude worrying about treatment organization. It is worth noting that Booking Health does not ask for any extra fees, providing patients with the cost of treatment guarantee. Company’s specialists will help to choose the hospital and physician, book tickets and accommodation, issue a visa, prepare medical reports, etc.
Please, feel free to check out the programs for stage 4 pancreatic cancer treatment in Germany.