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Sheba Pancreatic Cancer Center – SPCC

Sheba Pancreatic Cancer Center – SPCC

Pancreatic cancer is the 12th most common cancer worldwide, occurring slightly more often in men than in women, and is the 4th leading cause of cancer mortality. Sheba’s Pancreatic Cancer Center is the largest of its kind in Israel, offering the latest treatments, which are tailored to each patient’s clinical background and needs.

The Pancreatic Cancer Center operates within Sheba’s Jusidman Oncology Hospital and benefits from state-of-the-art imaging facilities (MRI, CT, ultrasound, etc.), advanced diagnostics, and more. Its medical staff includes oncologists, surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, and nurses of the highest caliber, specially trained to provide the best medical care and support for our patients.

Sheba's Pancreatic Cancer Center, specialists are using advanced surgical technique, such as NanoKnife IRE (Irreversible Electroporation).

Pancreatic Cancer Overview

Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of your pancreas — an organ in your abdomen that lies behind the lower part of the stomach. The pancreas produces enzymes that aid digestion and hormones that help manage your blood sugar as well as appetite, stimulate stomach acids, and tell your stomach when to empty.

With the pancreas located deep in the abdominal cavity, where a cancerous tumor can expand undetected, it is very difficult to diagnose cancer early. Moreover, as most people do not experience symptoms during the early stages of pancreatic cancer, approximately 80% are diagnosed after the disease has already metastasized.

Pancreatic Cancer Treatment at Sheba

Pancreatic cancer is treated based on its stage – how far it has spread in the body, but other factors, such as your overall health, can also impact your treatment plan. Treatment options may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination thereof. Sheba’s Pancreatic Cancer Center offers the most advanced treatments available. Surgical interventions:

The Whipple Procedure:

In most pancreatic cancer cases, the tumor is confined to the head of the pancreas. A Whipple procedure, also known as a pancreaticoduodenectomy, is a complex operation and the most widely used approach to remove the head of the pancreas, the first part of the small intestine (duodenum), the gallbladder, and the bile duct.
The procedure is used to remove cancerous tumors, prevent them from growing and stop their spread to other organs. For many of the cancers it treats, the Whipple procedure is the only intervention with the potential to offer patients prolonged survival or a complete recovery.

Total Pancreatectomy:

This operation removes the entire pancreas, as well as the gallbladder, part of the stomach and the small intestine, as well as the spleen. A total pancreatectomy is employed when cancer has spread throughout the pancreas. The procedure is somewhat less common as it can have severe side effects.

Palliative Surgeries:

Even if surgery cannot eliminate pancreatic cancer, you may still have an operation to help relieve symptoms or prevent complications.

  • If the first part of your small intestine (duodenum) becomes wholly or partly blocked by cancer, you may become very ill. You might have an operation to allow bile to drain by bypassing your blocked bile duct or have a tube put in to hold the bile duct open.
  • Most patients with pancreatic cancer develop a malignant biliary obstruction. Treatment of this obstruction is generally indicated to relieve symptoms and decrease morbidity and mortality. The decision of whether to treat the obstruction and the means for doing so depend on the clinical circumstances. Options include endoscopic and traditional surgical procedures.
  • Nerve blocks: Pain can be a major problem for people with pancreatic cancer. These cancers can invade and press on nerves near the pancreas, which can cause pain in the abdomen or back. A nerve block is a treatment that blocks nerves from sending messages to the brain. It can be used to treat pain caused by pancreatic cancer and also helps reduce opioid painkiller use.
  • Sheba's Pancreatic Cancer Center, specialists are using advanced surgical technique, such as NanoKnife IRE (Irreversible Electroporation).

    Advanced Surgical Techniques: NanoKnife IRE (Irreversible Electroporation)

    With the establishment of the Pancreatic Cancer Center at Sheba, cutting-edge technologies can now be incorporated into the treatment process, along with pioneering research conducted in collaboration with world-class health centers.
    An example of such breakthrough technology is the NanoKnife IRE (irreversible electroporation), which uses electrical fields to generate pores in the tumor cells, causing them to die without harming adjacent healthy tissue.
    This therapy may prolong the survival of patients as well as help treat pain and other symptoms.


    Pancreatic cancer chemotherapy drugs can be administered intravenously or orally, constituting a mainstay of pancreatic cancer treatment. Different chemotherapy drugs are used to treat pancreatic cancer, and our center offers the most advanced available therapies, including FOLFIRINOX, Gemcitabine, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), and Cisplatin.

    Targeted Chemotherapy

    Conventional chemotherapy is sometimes combined with targeted drugs, designed to destroy cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue by blocking processes that change normal cells into cancer, resulting in fewer side effects.

    Since early-stage pancreatic cancer is generally asymptomatic, and the disease is often locally advanced or metastatic at the time of diagnosis, surgical treatment is only possible on a limited basis. When surgery is not an option, targeted drugs are sometimes prescribed.

    Sheba’s doctors will analyze your test results to determine which targeted therapy will achieve the most effective outcome.

    Pharmaceutical Innovation

    In a groundbreaking study conducted by Dr. Talia Golan, Head of Sheba’s Pancreatic Cancer Center, in partnership with AstraZeneca and MSD (Merck), two of the world’s largest biopharmaceutical companies, the safety and efficacy of a new drug treatment regimen known as POLO is currently being evaluated for the treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer.

    It is one example of Sheba’s progress in precision medicine based on a specific genetic biomarker, BRCA 1 & 2, and has already shown promising results in treating pancreatic cancer patients.

    Radiation Therapy

    Radiation therapy can be helpful in treating some pancreatic cancers.
    It might be administered after surgery, combined with chemotherapy, or independently.

    Sheba’s Radiation Oncology Department stands out among the best in the world, with cutting-edge equipment. We have three linear accelerators equipped with On-Line Portal Imaging (EPI) which can provide continuous radiographic monitoring of patients during treatment.

    Dr. Talia Golan, Head of Sheba Pancreatic Cancer Center

    Talia Golan, the head of pancreatic cancer center

    Dr. Talia Golan

    Dr. Talia Golan is a highly qualified medical oncologist and pancreatic cancer researcher. She specializes in gastrointestinal malignancies, and is a respected clinical expert as well as a pioneering investigator in the field.
    Since receiving her MD from the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, and completing her clinical training at Sheba Medical Center, Dr. Golan has earned international recognition for her studies on pancreatic cancer.
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    Sheba Medical Center provides innovative, personalized medical care to patients from around the world. We are the largest, most comprehensive hospital in the Middle East and dedicated to providing advanced and compassionate medicine for everyone.

    We welcome all cases, including the rarest and the most challenging. Our medical teams collaborate to provide the best possible health outcomes. From your initial inquiry through the long-term follow-up care, we are here for you.

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