Treatment for islet cell cancer varies based on the types of cells involved in your cancer, the extent of your cancer, your preferences and your overall health. Options may include:
- Surgery. If islet cell cancer is confined to the pancreas, treatment usually includes surgery. For cancer that occurs in the tail of the pancreas, surgery may involve removing the tail of the pancreas (distal pancreatectomy), leaving the head portion intact. Cancer that affects the head of the pancreas may require a Whipple procedure (pancreatoduodenectomy), which involves removing the cancer and part or most of your pancreas.
- Targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses medications that are specially designed to target certain cancer cells. Targeted therapy is used to treat certain advanced or recurrent islet cell cancers. Targeted therapy is a type of biological therapy for cancer.
- Radiofrequency ablation. Radiofrequency ablation involves applying energy waves to cancer cells, causing them to heat up and die.
- Treatment for cancer that spreads to the liver. Islet cell cancer most often spreads to the liver and several treatments exist for this. Options include treatment to block blood flow to liver tumors (hepatic artery occlusion), treatment to deliver chemotherapy directly to the liver (chemoembolization), treatment to deliver radiation directly to the liver (radioembolization) and liver transplant.
- Chemotherapy. In certain situations, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy.