Your treatment choices depend on the type of pancreatic NET you have, test results, if the tumor is cancer, and the stage of the cancer. The goal of treatment may be to cure you, control the tumor or cancer, or to help ease problems caused by the tumor or cancer. Talk with your healthcare team about your treatment choices, the goals of treatment, and what the risks and side effects may be.
Types of treatment for cancer are either local or systemic. Local treatments remove, destroy, or control cancer cells in one area. Surgery and radiation are local treatments. Systemic treatment is used to destroy or control cancer cells that may have traveled around your body. When taken by pill or injection, chemotherapy is a systemic treatment. You may have just one treatment or a combination of treatments.
Surgery is the most common treatment, if the tumor can be removed. The type of surgery depends on how big the tumor is and where it is in the pancreas. Nearby tissues, such as parts of the pancreas, stomach, small intestine, or liver may also need to be removed.
For tumors that can’t be removed by surgery, or that have spread to other parts of the body, other treatments may be used to shrink the tumor, destroy it, or control the symptoms it’s causing. These are:
- Active surveillance if the tumor is slow-growing and not cancer.
- Hormone therapy.
- Targeted therapy.
- Using heat to destroy the tumor (radiofrequency ablation).
- Freezing the cancer cells (cryosurgical ablation).