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Nutrition Advice for Pancreatic Cancer and the aftermath of Whipple Surgery

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Today we would like to welcome Maria Petzel, a Clinical Dietitian with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Today we will be discussing Nutrition after Whipple Surgery and nutrition for those with Pancreatitis and Pancreatic Cancer. As many of us know, November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month.

According to the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all major cancers.  Only 6% of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer will survive more than five years. One theory that pancreatic cancer has a low survival rate, is because the symptoms may not be apparent until the cancer has already spread significantly.

One method of treatment is Whipple surgery, named after the first surgeon to perform the procedure, Allen Whipple. Whipple surgery consist of removing a significant portion of the pancreas next to the small intestines It also involves removal of the duodenum, a portion of the common bile duct, gallbladder, and sometimes part of the stomach. Afterwards, surgeons reconnect the remaining intestine, bile duct, and pancreas.

This is obviously a very intense surgery for a person to undergo, especially when recovering. It is critical for a person to consult with either a registered Dietitian or Doctor both before & after a surgical procedure.

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