New Stanford Program Puts Pancreas at Center of Comprehensive Care Team

07.01.2012

These benign diseases are certainly benign technically, meaning they're not cancerous, but that doesn't mean they don't cause a lot of pain and suffering.

-Brendan Visser, MD, surgical director, Stanford Benign Pancreas Program

Moynihan did not want to worry about what might be going on between tests and decided to have her pancreatic tumor removed right away. The laparoscopic approach used by Stanford surgeon Brendan Visser meant Moynihan was home in a couple of days and soon back to her docent tours at Filoli Gardens in Woodside.

Moynihan is back to her normal routine now, which includes getting together with friends to play cards, but smarter, too. More than 200,000 patients each year learn what she did--that the pain they think comes from the stomach is actually a problem with the pancreas.

It's been quite exciting to be able to bring togehter, to interact and partner with, some very bright individuals in their respective specialties who each bring a unique perspective to the disease.

-Walter Park, MD, medical director, Stanford Benign Pancreas Program

I've done really well and I'm enjoying my life!

-Mitzi Moynihan, patient, Stanford Benign Pancrease Program

As do many when they hear that a friend is having pancreatic problems, some of Moynihan's friends had been fearful for her. She's been happy to prove their fears unfounded. "I've done really well," she said, "and I'm enjoying my life!"

A PANCREAS PRIMER

Symptoms of a pancreas in trouble can include:

  • abdominal pain that radiates to the back or chest
  • nausea, vomiting, rapid pulse rate, fever
  • unexplained weight loss
  • jaundice

Tests to diagnose pancreatic conditions may include an abdominal ultrasound, a computerized tomography (CT) scan, an endoscopic ultrasound, magnetic resonance(MRCP) and the measurement of amount and concentration of pancreatic juice.

Treatment may include therapeutic endoscopy procedures, advanced surgical techniques, nutritional counseling, pain management and the opportunity to participate in clinical research trials.
  

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