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.
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.
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.
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 counselors, nurse navigators, dietitians and social service professionals.
Your Treatment Team
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Ms. Hughes 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
- 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
- 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
- Dr. Staley leads the surgical oncology team at Winship. He works collaboratively with the Executive Director and Deputy Director to coordinate and enhance clinical services and patient care throughout Winship and its clinical campuses.
- Associate Director for Clinical Affairs, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
- (404) 778-0210
- 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
- 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