Pancreatic cancer care in Denver, CO

Swedish Medical Center is home to the Center for Diseases of the Liver & Pancreas, one of the Rocky Mountain region’s best pancreatic care centers. Swedish's team of multidisciplinary experts are dedicated to treating pancreatic cancer and other pancreatic conditions, such as ascites, pancreatitis and portal hypertension. We have earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for certification in Pancreatic Cancer Care, establishing our dedication to the national standards for quality health care.

Risk factors and symptoms

We consider each patient’s symptoms, risk factors and testing results in the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Common symptoms of pancreatic cancer can be:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood clots
  • Enlargement of the gallbladder or liver
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Reduced appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss

There are some risk factors of pancreatic cancer that can be controlled or mediated, including smoking, diet, excessive alcohol consumption and obesity. Risk factors that patients can’t control include age, race, family history and inherited genetic syndromes that can cause pancreatic cancer.

Our team catches certain cancers at earlier stages than the state average. The cancers include pancreas, liver, intrahepatic bile duct, extrahepatic bile duct, gallbladder and other parts of the biliary tract.  

For more information about Center for Diseases of the Liver & Pancreas at Swedish Medical Center, call (303) 788-3478.

Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute

As part of Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare, our family of hospitals provides you with convenient access to leading-edge cancer therapies and clinical trials. Through our Sarah Cannon oncology programs, we offer patients personal, individualized care with a trusted network of specialists who address every aspect of cancer care.

askSARAH helpline

Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Swedish Medical Center is pleased to offer access to askSARAH, a dedicated helpline designed to help answer your cancer-related questions. Whether you have been recently diagnosed with cancer or have questions with screenings, signs or symptoms, a specially trained askSARAH nurse can help. Committed to ensuring you have the right resources close to home, our nurses are available 24/7 and all calls are confidential. Contact askSARAH at (303) 253-3225 or click here to connect directly to a nurse who can help you today.

Pancreatic cancer treatment and support

Diseases of the pancreas represent some of the most difficult and challenging problems faced by healthcare professionals today.

The Center for Diseases of the Liver & Pancreas at Swedish offers a multi-faceted approach to surgical and non-surgical treatment for patients with complex pancreatic, biliary and liver diseases, including liver cancer. We also provide complete care for each patient’s entire cancer journey, from diagnosis through recovery and survivorship.

Our pancreatic experts are skilled in cutting-edge treatment options for pancreatic cancer, including surgical treatment, radiation oncology and chemotherapy treatment. We offer advanced treatment options, including minimally invasive NanoKnife surgery. Additional pancreatic cancer treatments include:

Arterial embolization with radiation or chemotherapy

This is used to target tumors more directly from the inside of the pancreas. Embolization is a well-established interventional radiology technique that is used to treat trauma victims with massive bleeding, to control hemorrhage after childbirth, to decrease blood loss prior to surgery and to treat tumors.

Whipple procedure

The Whipple procedure, also known as pancreatoduodenectomy, is often used to treat cancer contained to the pancreas. In the Whipple procedure, a specialized physician removes the head of the pancreas, part of the bile duct, gallbladder and part of the stomach. After, the surgeon connects the remaining intestine, bile duct, pancreas and stomach so the body can continue to digest food and expel waste.

Distal Pancreatectomy

A distal pancreatectomy is performed if a tumor is located within the body or tail portion of the pancreas. The surgeon removes half of the pancreas where the tumor is located, preserving the head of the pancreas and as much healthy tissue as possible. Sometimes the spleen is also removed during this procedure because it is located so close to the tail of the pancreas. A distal pancreatectomy can be performed laparoscopically or with open incisions.