Your local pancreatic cancer 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 to treat pancreatic cancer. This is called a multidisciplinary team (MDT). In particular, surgery should only be carried out in specialist centres, as this gives patients the best results. These centres have been set up regionally across the UK, and hospitals in a region will work together with the specialist centres. Find your nearest specialist centre.
You may not have to go to the specialist centre. Tests are often done at local hospitals, as is chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment. But wherever you are treated, the specialist centre should always be involved in decisions about your treatment. Your doctor can tell you which specialist centre is involved in your care, and explain the decisions made by the specialist team.
If you take part in a clinical trial, you may have your treatment at the specialist centre. This is because local hospitals may not always be involved in running clinical trials, or offer all the trials that are available at the specialist centre.
If you live in England, 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 services.
The multidisciplinary team (MDT)
The team of medical professionals responsible for your treatment and care is called the multidisciplinary team (MDT). You probably won’t meet most of them, but they will discuss your test results and agree on the best treatment for you. You won’t need to be present at this meeting.
The health professionals you are most likely to meet are the specialist nurse, gastroenterologist, oncologist, surgeon, and dietitian. You may meet others at different stages.
You will be given a main contact, often called a keyworker, who will usually be a specialist nurse. They will support you, and will be the person you speak to most. They will also be a part of the MDT, and will let them know how you are getting on.
If you have any problems getting the care you need, or questions about who to speak to, call our specialist nurses on our free Support Line.
Who do I call out of normal hospital hours or in an emergency?
You will normally be given a name and contact number if you need to talk to someone out of normal hospital hours.
If you are having chemotherapy you will have been given an emergency contact number to phone. For example, you should call if your temperature goes above 37.5ºC or 38ºC (depending on the advice you’ve been given by your chemotherapy team), which could be a sign of an infection.
For any other emergency, go to A&E, or call 999 and ask for an ambulance.
The care plan
You should be offered an assessment, called a holistic needs assessment. The keyworker should discuss a range of things with you, including:
- your physical needs – for example around symptoms or side effects
- any practical issues, such as work or any care you need
- emotional concerns, such as sadness, depression or spiritual questions.
You should have a holistic needs assessment after you’ve been diagnosed, and if your needs change. Your doctor or nurse should develop a care plan, which includes how to manage anything raised in the assessment. If you haven’t been offered a holistic needs assessment, you can ask for one.
Find out more about what care you should expect in our Patient charter: What you should expect from your care
Finding your local specialist centre
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.
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.
Questions to ask
- Is this a specialist pancreatic cancer centre?
- Is my case being reviewed by a specialist pancreatic cancer centre? If not, why not?
- Who are the members of my MDT?
- Will I have a named specialist nurse? If not, why not?
- Who is my keyworker?
- Who do I contact if I need to speak to someone in an emergency or out of normal hospital hours?
Updated June 2017
Review date June 2019