Your local specialist centre
Regional Specialist Centres
In the UK it has been agreed that specialist treatment teams for
the assessment and treatment of pancreatic cancer should be
established at appropriate cancer centres. In particular national
guidance states that pancreatic cancer surgery should only take
place in specialist centres serving a population of at least two
million. This is to ensure a team of surgeons works with a high
volume of pancreatic cancer patients, about 100-200 a year.
Research has shown that patients do better from having surgery in
high-volume, expert centres in terms of reduced morbidity
(complications) and improved survival.
Being referred to a specialist centre
In the UK anyone diagnosed with pancreatic cancer should have
their case reviewed at a cancer centre where there is a specialist
team which assesses and treats the disease.
These centres have been set up across the UK on a regional
basis. Hospitals in a region work together with the specialist
centres to try to ensure the best treatment and care for all
Patients may not have to attend the specialist centre. Tests and
investigations are often done at local hospitals, and chemotherapy
and radiotherapy treatment given there too. Wherever a patient is
treated, the specialist centre should always be involved in
assessment and treatment decisions. Your doctor can answer any
questions you may have about which specialist centre is involved in
your care and explain the decisions made by the specialist
Local hospitals may not always be involved in running clinical
trials or offer all the trials available at the specialist centre,
so patients taking part in clinical trials may also have their
treatment at the specialist centre.
You can access a list of hospitals with specialist pancreatic
You can compare hospitals providing care for pancreatic cancer
using the My Cancer
Treatment website. The site contains detailed reports on the
quality of service at different hospitals and allows you to compare
Who will I be treated by?
You will be cared for by several different healthcare experts,
known as a multidisciplinary team (MDT).
Once all your investigations have been carried out your
specialist team will meet to discuss the results with their
colleagues. This MDT meeting will include specialist surgeons,
gastroenterologists, radiologists, oncologists, pathologists, nurse
specialists, and a dietitian. Everyone will use their expert
knowledge to review your case and agree on the best treatment
options for you. Click here for more information on MDTs.
You will be given a main contact, or key worker, who will
usually be a specialist nurse (either a hepatobiliary or upper
gastrointestinal cancer nurse specialist). It's their role to
report back to you from the MDT and they will be the person you
liaise with most.
Finding your local
This section contains details of hospitals that have pancreatic
cancer specialist teams by region. Where available, links have been
provided to hospital websites and information on the teams and
centres treating pancreatic cancer. Information is also provided on
which regional cancer network they serve.
These services may be called HPB (hepatopancreaticobiliary)
centres as the same specialists may work with people affected by
pancreatic, liver, gallbladder and bile duct cancers.
Published November 2011
Review date November 2013