The Whipple procedure is an operation to remove a pancreatic tumor and a lot of the tissue around it. After a large cut is made in your belly, the surgeon will look at the pancreas and other organs in the area, including lymph nodes, to see if the cancer has spread. Tissue samples will be taken for a biopsy. When the surgeon is satisfied that the tumor has not spread and can be removed entirely, he or she takes out the part of the pancreas containing the tumor. The surgeon will also take out the first part of the small intestine, the bile duct, the gallbladder, and nearby lymph nodes. Sometimes the lower part of the stomach is also removed.The goal of surgery is to remove the tumor and some of the normal tissue around it. The normal tissue is examined under a microscope to see if it is free of cancer cells. This is known as getting clear margins. Having clear margins improves the chances—but doesn't guarantee—that all cancer cells have been removed.The second part of the surgery
Pancreatic cancer usually doesn't cause symptoms at first. It's silent and painless. Symptoms usually don't begin until the cancer has spread. They may include:Pain in the upper belly or back.Jaundice. This yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes can happen when the growing tumor presses the bile duct closed.Unexpected weight loss.Loss of appetite.Extreme tiredness.Of course, there are other conditions that cause these symptoms, so they don't necessarily mean you have cancer. But it's important to talk to your doctor if you have any of these problems.