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What are stents for pancreatic cancer?

Pancreatic cancer can cause jaundice by blocking the bile duct. The main symptoms of jaundice are yellow skin or eyes, itchiness, pale stools (poo) and dark urine.

Pancreatic cancer can also cause sickness by blocking the duodenum, which means food can’t flow out of the stomach.

Stents are small, flexible plastic or metal tubes. A stent can be inserted into your bile duct or duodenum to relieve the blockage and help to manage these symptoms.

Plastic stents

Plastic stents are sometimes used to relieve jaundice and sickness before surgery to remove cancer, or during tests to see if you can have surgery.

Plastic stents can become blocked after a few months. They are usually replaced every three or four months. They can be replaced with a metal stent, which is wider and has a smaller risk of getting blocked.

Metal stents

Metal stents are used more than plastic stents because they are wider and can expand. They may be used if you are having chemotherapy because they last longer than plastic stents and there’s less risk of infection.

If you have any questions or concerns about having a stent put in, speak to your medical team. You can also speak to our specialist nurses on our free Support Line.

Read about having a stent for a blocked bile duct or a blocked duodenum.

Stent for a blocked bile duct

Stent for blocked duodenum

Problems with stents

Benefits and risks of stents

What is bypass surgery for pancreatic cancer?

Bypass surgery for a blocked bile duct

Bypass surgery for a blocked duodenum

Recovering from bypass surgery

Benefits and risks of bypass surgery

Side effects from bypass surgery

Back to Stents and bypass surgery

Published February 2017

Review date February 2019

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