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Our Approach to Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Treatment

  • Our multidisciplinary team

    Sapna Syngal, MD, MPH, consults with a patient

    Patients come to the Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Center from around the world to be cared for by our highly specialized team. Our experts treat pancreaticobiliary cancer exclusively – so we understand and focus on the distinct needs of these patients. Some patients remain at the Center for ongoing treatments; others take our recommendations back to their referring physician, who works together with our team.

    Our clinician/scientists have extensive experience across the full spectrum of pancreatic and biliary diseases, from premalignant cysts to advanced malignancy. We have treated thousands of patients; our radiologists, pathologists, endoscopy specialists, palliative care physicians, medical oncologists, surgeons, and radiation oncologists have decades of experience working as a team in caring for patients with pancreatic and biliary tumors and cysts.

    This extensive experience and collaborative environment result in highly coordinated, streamlined care for patients. Our doctors are in constant communication with each other, during Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Center conferences, multidisciplinary clinic sessions, and research meetings. Our doctors also communicate effectively with our patients, keeping them informed and involved in a patient-centered model of care.

    Quality is associated with experience: Studies show that higher surgical volume correlates with better patient outcomes. We perform hundreds of pancreatic and biliary cancer surgeries per year, including the Whipple procedure and new complex surgeries to remove tumors in patients who had not previously been candidates for surgery.

    Collaborative model of care

    Our innovative approach is reflected in our collaborative, multidisciplinary model of patient care. We hold daily multidisciplinary clinics, in which specialists from radiology, medical oncology, pancreaticobiliary surgery, and radiation oncology evaluate new patients together, reviewing treatment plans collaboratively in real time.

    This approach spares our patients multiple clinic visits to see different specialists, improves communication between members of the patient's care team, and allows the most rapid possible determination of next steps for evaluation and treatment. Patients receive one unified recommendation and can be certain that all their doctors are in agreement regarding their care.

    Our team-based approach typically involves input from our pathologists, gastroenterologists, palliative care doctors, nutritionists, and social workers. Together, we provide a comprehensive management plan for each patient, leveraging the comprehensive resources of one of the largest cancer centers in the United States.

    Compassionate care and support

    We consider each patient's quality of life to be our top priority as we aggressively treat their cancer. Our medical, nursing, and support staff have a passion for caring for patients with pancreatic and biliary cancer, and we help each person through a medically and emotionally challenging time. We take the time to form one-on-one relationships with our patients and get to know them and their loved ones.

    We offer support programs and resources that help patients and families, including nutrition counseling, complementary therapies such as massage and acupuncture, and support groups led by our social workers.