Pancreatic Cancer

When you come to Winship Cancer Institute for pancreatic cancer treatment, you have a multidisciplinary team of experts dedicated to your well-being.

The pancreatic cancer program at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University offers the most advanced care and treatments for patients.

Our multidisciplinary teams include oncology surgeons, radiologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, and advanced practice nurses with expertise in pancreatic cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers.

The benefits of our multidisciplinary and highly experienced teams include:

  • Access to doctors and surgeons who rank among the top cancer experts in the world.
  • Weekly review of patient cases by the full team of experts.
  • Coordinated scheduling for appointments among various specialties.
  • Access to nurse navigator to assist you throughout the treatment process.
  • Access to support groups and education classes for you and your caregivers.
  • Availability of new treatment options within our clinical trials program.

More than 95 percent of pancreatic cancers are adenocarcinomas that line pancreatic ducts.

The stage of your disease indicates how much it has spread.  Early stage cancer is a disease limited to one organ. Late stage cancer indicates spread to other organs like to the liver and lung or to the bone. Determining the stage of your cancer will affect your treatment plan.  Your Winship care team may use one or more tests and procedures to determine the stage of your pancreatic cancer:

  • Physical exam and lab tests.
  • CT scan: computer imaging produces a 3-D picture of the pancreas and surrounding organs that allows a doctor to check for abnormal tissue that may be cancerous.
  • Ultrasonography: sound waves create images as they bounce off the tissue in the abdomen.
  • Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): a technique that uses x-ray evaluation with the aid of an endoscope to facilitate the imaging of dyes that are injected into the ducts of the pancreas.
  • Percutaneous Transhepatic Cholangiography (PTC): a technique that uses a combination of dye injected into the liver and x-ray imaging in order to see if the bile ducts allow passage of fluid or if they are blocked by a tumor or other condition.
  • Biopsy: a sample of tissue from the pancreas is examined by a pathologist to look for cancerous cells.

For reliable, in-depth information about cancer symptoms, staging and diagnosis, visit CancerQuest, an educational and outreach program at Emory University. 

Visit CancerQuest

There are a variety of treatment options for pancreatic cancer depending on the size and location of the tumor, whether the cancer has spread and the overall health of the patient. For some patients, a combination of treatment methods may be used.

Surgery: during surgery for pancreatic cancer, a physician may remove parts of or the entire pancreas. Procedures include:

  • Whipple Procedure: this method is used when the tumor is in the head of the pancreas. The surgeon removes the head of the pancreas and parts of the bile ducts, small intestines and stomach.
  • Distal Pancreatectomy: in this procedure, the body and tail of the pancreas are removed in addition to the spleen.
  • Total Pancreatectomy: the entire pancreas is removed along with part of the small intestine, a portion of the stomach, the common bile duct, the gallbladder, the spleen, and nearby lymph nodes.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be used if surgery is not recommended, before surgery to shrink the size of the tumor, or after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. In addition to standard targeted therapies, participating in a clinical trial may be an option in certain cases. Clinical trials provide patients access to new medications that are being developed to treat pancreatic cancer.

Radiation: Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. Radiation may be used if surgery is not recommended and to destroy cancer cells that remain after surgery. Learn more about radiation therapy treatments and services.

Targeted therapies: In personalized medicine, researchers identify unique characteristics of tumors that make them vulnerable to known drugs so therapy can be tailored to an individual’s cancer. In targeted therapies, Winship investigators look for new drugs that more selectively target cancer cells with fewer side effects.

In addition to delivering the highest quality medical care, we recognize the importance of the psychological and emotional aspects of living with a cancer diagnosis and of dealing with treatment. Our supportive oncology team addresses these issues in a timely manner with additional support from counselorsnurse navigatorsdietitians and social service professionals.

 Consider talking with your doctor about participating in a clinical trial at Winship. Through these trials, you may have access to treatments that are not widely available.

Learn More About Clinical Trials

If you have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, we are ready to help you. Call us at 1 (888) 946-7447 or (404) 778-1900 to make an appointment or request an appointment online. Winship experts are available to provide a second opinion.

We understand that this is a very stressful time. We welcome your questions and requests for help. Learn what to expect on your first visit.

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N. Volkan Adsay MD

  • Pathologist
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                                 N. Volkan Adsay MD
N. Volkan Adsay MD

N. Volkan Adsay MD

  • Dr. Adsay is an internationally-recognized pathologist in the field of gastrointestinal and pancreatobiliary cancers.
  • Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 712-5867

Olatunji B. Alese MD

  • Medical Oncologist
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                                 Olatunji B.  Alese MD
Olatunji B. Alese MD

Olatunji B. Alese MD

Wendy Baer MD

  • Oncology Psychiatrist
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                                 Wendy Baer MD
Wendy Baer MD

Wendy Baer MD

  • Dr. Baer helps patients and their families deal with the stress of receiving a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
  • Medical Director of Psychiatric Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD

  • Nutrition Advisor
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                                 Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD
Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD

Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD

Chandar Bhimani MD

  • Medical Oncologist
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                                 Chandar  Bhimani MD
Chandar Bhimani MD

Chandar Bhimani MD

  • Dr. Bhimani is a hematology and medical oncology specialist treating patients at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD

  • Nutrition Advisor
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                                 Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD
Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD

Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD

Tiffany Brosius RN, BSN, OCN

  • Nurse Navigator
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                                 Tiffany Brosius RN, BSN, OCN
Tiffany Brosius RN, BSN, OCN

Tiffany Brosius RN, BSN, OCN

Edith Brutcher NP, ANP-BC, MSN, AOCNP

  • Nurse Practitioner
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                                 Edith Brutcher NP, ANP-BC, MSN, AOCNP
Edith Brutcher NP, ANP-BC, MSN, AOCNP

Edith Brutcher NP, ANP-BC, MSN, AOCNP

  • A chemotherapy infusion specialist and adult nurse practitioner, Ms. Brutcher's clinical specialties include gastrointestinal and aerodigestive cancers.
  • Adult Nurse Practitioner, Department of Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Kenneth Cardona MD, FACS

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Kenneth Cardona MD, FACS
Kenneth Cardona MD, FACS

Kenneth Cardona MD, FACS

  • Dr. Cardona is a board certified surgeon and surgical oncologist who specializes in the management of complex gastrointestinal malignancies (such as stomach, pancreas, and liver cancers) and is an expert in the treatment of sarcomas.
  • Co-Chair Gastrointestinal Oncology Working Group, Emory University Hospital Midtown
  • (404) 686-3203

Kimberly A. Curseen MD

  • Supportive Oncologist
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                                 Kimberly A. Curseen MD
Kimberly A. Curseen MD

Kimberly A. Curseen MD

  • Board certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care, Dr. Curseen is the primary provider for the Supportive Oncology Clinic at Winship.
  • Director of Supportive and Palliative Care Outpatient Services , Emory Healthcare
  • (404) 778-6448

Bassel El-Rayes MD

  • Medical Oncologist
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                                 Bassel El-Rayes MD
Bassel El-Rayes MD

Bassel El-Rayes MD

  • Dr. El-Rayes is head of the clinical trials program at the Winship. He also serves as Director of the Winship Gastrointestinal Oncology Program.
  • Associate Director for Clinical Research, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Martha Giardina BSW

  • Social Worker
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                                 Martha  Giardina BSW
Martha Giardina BSW

Martha Giardina BSW

Joan Giblin NP

  • Survivorship Program
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                                 Joan  Giblin NP
Joan Giblin NP

Joan Giblin NP

  • An experienced nurse practitioner specialist with extensive patient care involvement, Ms. Giblin facilitates continued good health and quality of life for cancer survivors.
  • Survivorship Program Director, Winship Cancer Institute
  • (404) 778-1900

Natalyn Hawk MD, PhD

  • Medical Oncologist
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                                 Natalyn Hawk MD, PhD
Natalyn Hawk MD, PhD

Natalyn Hawk MD, PhD

  • As a member of both the Gastrointestinal Oncology working group and the Sarcoma working group, Dr. Hawk sees patients with either gastrointestinal or connective tissue malignancies.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Hematology and Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Bonnie Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN

  • Nurse Navigator
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                                 Bonnie  Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN
Bonnie Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN

Bonnie Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN

  • Ms. Josaphs practices within gastrointestinal oncology including assisting colorectal, liver and pancreatic cancer patients.
  • Gastrointestinal Cancer Nurse Navigator, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Steven Keilin MD

  • Gastroenterologist
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                                 Steven  Keilin MD
Steven Keilin MD

Steven Keilin MD

  • An attending gastroenterologist with expertise in advanced endoscopy, Dr. Keilin works with Winship's GI teams to deliver top cancer care.
  • Associate Director, Advanced Endoscopy Fellowship Program, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

David Kooby MD

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 David Kooby MD
David Kooby MD

David Kooby MD

  • Dr. Kooby is involved in multicenter clinical research and is an international leader in minimally invasive pancreatic and liver surgery.
  • Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-3805

Jerome C. Landry MD, MBA

  • Radiation Oncologist
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                                 Jerome C. Landry MD, MBA
Jerome C. Landry MD, MBA

Jerome C. Landry MD, MBA

  • Dr. Landry specializes in the treatment of gastrointestinal tumors and soft tissue sarcomas.
  • Chief of Service, Edward Loughlin Oncology Center, Grady Memorial Hospital
  • (404) 778-3473

Colleen Lewis NP

  • Nurse Practitioner
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                                 Colleen Lewis NP
Colleen Lewis NP

Colleen Lewis NP

Shishir K. Maithel MD, FACS

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Shishir K. Maithel  MD, FACS
Shishir K. Maithel MD, FACS

Shishir K. Maithel MD, FACS

  • Dr. Maithel is a board certified surgeon and surgical oncologist with special interest in sarcoma and malignancies of the liver, bile ducts, pancreas, stomach, colon, and small intestine.
  • Associate Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-0210

Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C

  • Social Worker
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                                 Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C
Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C

Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C

  • At Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital, Ms. Perlmutter works with patients of all cancer types providing resource referrals and counseling services.
  • Social Worker, Outpatient Oncology, Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital
  • (678) 843-7826

Kimberly Pizarek PA-C

  • Physician Assistant
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                                 Kimberly Pizarek PA-C
Kimberly Pizarek PA-C

Kimberly Pizarek PA-C

  • Ms. Pizarek works with Dr. Maria Russell of the surgical oncology team to provide care for breast cancer, gastrointestinal, melanoma and sarcoma patients.
  • Physician Assistant , Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Carol Rivera ACBSW

  • Social Worker
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                                 Carol Rivera ACBSW
Carol Rivera ACBSW

Carol Rivera ACBSW

Maria C. Russell MD

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Maria C. Russell MD
Maria C. Russell MD

Maria C. Russell MD

  • Dr. Russell's treats melanoma and metastatic melanoma, tumors of the liver, biliary tract, pancreas, spleen and gallbladder, metastatic tumors to the liver, tumors of the gastrointestinal tract, and neuroendocrine tumors.
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 686-3203

Juan M. Sarmiento MD, FACS

  • Surgeon
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                                 Juan M. Sarmiento MD, FACS
Juan M. Sarmiento MD, FACS

Juan M. Sarmiento MD, FACS

  • Dr. Sarmiento, an expert in liver, biliary tract and pancreas surgery, is one of only a handful of surgeons with a commitment to hepatopancreatic biliary surgery.
  • Associate Professor, Division of General and GI Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Walid L. Shaib MD

  • Medical Oncologist
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                                 Walid L. Shaib MD
Walid L. Shaib MD

Walid L. Shaib MD

Vinita Singh MD

  • Pain Management Specialist
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                                 Vinita Singh MD
Vinita Singh MD

Vinita Singh MD

  • Dr. Singh collaborates with oncologists to provide state-of-the-art therapies to cancer patients suffering from pain symptoms.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 686-2410

Charles A. Staley MD

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Charles A. Staley MD
Charles A. Staley MD

Charles A. Staley MD

  • Dr. Staley leads the surgical oncology team and as Chief Quality Officer works collaboratively with leadership on tracking and improving patient services and satisfaction as well as focusing on cancer outcomes at Winship.
  • Chief Quality Officer, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-0210

Stephen M. Szabo MD

  • Medical Oncologist
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                                 Stephen M. Szabo MD
Stephen M. Szabo MD

Stephen M. Szabo MD

  • Dr. Szabo practices general medical oncology and specializes in the treatment of breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancers, and benign hematology at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital.
  • Director of Community Oncology, Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital
  • (404) 778-1900

Margaret (Maggie) Tinsley LMSW

  • Social Worker
Photo of 
                                 Margaret (Maggie) Tinsley LMSW
Margaret (Maggie) Tinsley LMSW

Margaret (Maggie) Tinsley LMSW

  • Ms. Tinsley works with the genitourinary and gastrointestinal patients at Winship Cancer Institute and the breast, gynecological and sarcoma patients at Emory University Hospital Midtown.
  • Social Worker, Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-5976

Jeffrey M. Vainshtein MD

  • Radiation Oncologist
Photo of 
                                 Jeffrey M. Vainshtein MD
Jeffrey M. Vainshtein MD

Jeffrey M. Vainshtein MD

  • Dr. Vainshtein treats patients with head and neck cancer, gastrointestinal malignancies, thoracic malignancies and sarcomas at both Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital and Emory University Hospital.
  • Instructor, Clinical Track, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-3473

Field F. Willingham MD, MPH

  • Gastroenterologist
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                                 Field F. Willingham MD, MPH
Field F. Willingham MD, MPH

Field F. Willingham MD, MPH

  • Dr. Willingham is a leading expert in interventional and therapeutic endoscopy, seeing patients for specialized procedures from the United States and abroad.
  • Director of Endoscopy, Division of Digestive Disease, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Joshua H. Winer MD

  • Surgical Oncologist
Photo of 
                                 Joshua H. Winer MD
Joshua H. Winer MD

Joshua H. Winer MD

  • Dr. Winer's specialties include HIPEC, laparoscopic and robotic pancreas, liver, and gastric resections, and minimally invasive colon surgery.
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-8377