Surgery for pancreatic cancer

The type of surgery you have depends on where the cancer is in your pancreas. Find out about the different types of surgery for pancreatic cancer, what happens before surgery and what to expect afterwards.

Types of surgery for pancreatic cancer

You may have surgery to remove pancreatic cancer or to relieve symptoms. Find out about the different types and how your surgeon decides if surgery is possible.

Before your operation for pancreatic cancer

Before your operation you have tests to check your fitness and you meet members of your treatment team. Find out what happens before you operation.

On the day of pancreatic cancer surgery

On the day of your operation, you will need to stop eating for several hours before surgery. Find out what else  happens. 

Surgery to try to cure pancreatic cancer

There are different types of surgery to remove pancreatic cancer, such as a Whipple's operation or distal pancreatectomy. The type of operation you have depends on where the cancer is in the pancreas.

Surgery and stents to relieve symptoms of pancreatic cancer

If you can't have surgery to remove pancreatic cancer, you may still have an operation or stents put in to help relieve symptoms or prevent problems such as a blocked bile duct or bowel.

After pancreatic cancer surgery

After pancreatic surgery you may wake up in the intensive care unit or a high dependency recovery. Or you may go straight to the ward. This depends on the type of operation you have had. Find out what happens in the few days and weeks after surgery.

Problems after pancreatic cancer surgery

There is a risk of problems (complications) after any operation. Find out about the possible problems after having surgery to remove pancreatic cancer.

Last reviewed: 
12 Apr 2023
Next review due: 
12 Apr 2026