NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Pancreatic Cancer - page 38

NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Pancreatic Cancer, Version 1.2014
Supportive care
36 Blocked bile duct
37 Blocked stomach
37 Pain
37 Malnutrition or trouble eating
38 Websites | Review
Supportive care is treatment given to
relieve the health conditions caused by
pancreatic cancer or cancer treatment.
This is also referred to as palliative
care. Supportive care is an important
part of overall pancreatic cancer
treatment. As pancreatic cancer grows,
it can cause serious health problems
such as pain, blockage, and difficulty
eating. It is important to know about
these health issues and talk to your
treatment team to get the support you
need. This section explains some of
the main challenges you may face and
the recommended supportive care for
Blocked bile duct
A tumor in the pancreas may grow large enough
to block your bile duct. A bile duct is a small tube
that drains digestive fluid (bile) from the liver. The
common bile duct carries bile from the liver through
the pancreas and to the first part of the small intestine
(duodenum). A blocked duct causes bile to build up
in the liver. As a result, you may have pain, itching,
discomfort, and jaundice—a yellowing of the eyes and
A blocked bile duct may be treated by placing a biliary
stent or doing a biliary bypass. A biliary stent is a tiny
tube that is placed in the bile duct to unblock it or
keep it open. Before the stent can be placed, bile may
need to be drained through an opening in the side of
the body. However, you may need a new or second
stent during or after cancer treatment if the tumor
grows larger. A bypass is a surgery to re-route the
flow of fluids in the body. A biliary bypass is a surgery
to re-route the flow of bile from the common bile duct
into the small intestine. The result is that the bile flow
avoids (bypasses) the blocked part of the duct.
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