What are the Treatment options for stage 3 pancreatic cancer?

What is pancreatic cancer stage III?

Pancreatic cancer is often staged using the TNM system of cancer staging, in which T represents tumour, N for node, and M stands for metastasis. Tumour indicates the size of the initial tumour, Node indicates the presence of cancer in lymph nodes, and Metastasis indicates cancer spreading from the source tissue to other tissues and organs.

The tumour size in stage 3 ranges from 2 to 4 cm, and the malignancy has spread to one or more lymph nodes. (T1, N2, M0), (T2, N2, M0), (T3, N2, M0), or (T4, N2, M0) could be the staging (T4, ANY N, M0)

Treatment Options

Treatment choices for pancreatic cancer are determined by the stage of the disease, the tumor’s dissemination, and the location of the cancer, as well as the patient’s symptoms and reaction to treatment. Staging is a critical component in determining how to treat this malignancy. Stage III is the most advanced stage, with a higher chance of recurrence or relapse even after surgery.

Palliative surgery:

When cancer has spread and cannot be completely removed by surgery, the objective is to relieve or palliate the cancer’s symptoms in order to improve the patient’s quality of life and comfort. To open the duct and restore the flow of chemicals, a stent can be utilised to eliminate the blockage caused by the tumour. A bypass operation may be used if a stent is not successful in opening the duct.


Chemotherapy is the use of medications to combat or eliminate malignant cells in the body. Unlike surgery or other targeted therapies, this treatment is more extensive and can destroy cancer cells that have moved to other tissues or organs of the body, making it the preferred treatment for tumours that have spread or are likely to spread.


Chemoradiation is a treatment that combines chemotherapy and radiation therapy and is administered before or after surgery to remove cancer tumours. Chemotherapy medications make the cells more sensitive to radiation, but the side effects are severe, so it’s only used when the cancer has spread too far.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is a type of treatment that uses a high dose of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours. It is not normally used to treat cancer that has progressed to other parts of the body, and it is primarily utilised as part of adjuvant therapy after surgery.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy is performed when a tumour cannot be completely eliminated by surgery or when it has already spread to other parts of the body. Unlike chemotherapy, which targets rapidly dividing cells, this treatment uses medications that target specific organs that cancer cells use to grow and survive.

Clinical trials

Clinical trials are another option for late cancer stages, which may have greater difficulties and side effects than earlier stages. Clinical trials are designed to test new treatments or combinations of existing treatments. While clinical trials are not without risk, they may be the best option for circumstances where regular treatment has failed to yield significant results.

Survival rate and outlook:

Pancreatic cancer at stage III is advanced, and patients should not expect a complete recovery or remission. The treatment’s primary goal is to improve the patient’s chances of survival and lengthen his or her life.The five year survival rate which reflects how many patients out of 100 diagnosed with a particular cancer live beyond five years is around 3%.

Dr. Paavas Sharma
Dr. Paavas Sharma
Articles: 211
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