A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons finds that pancreatic cancer patients who travel for surgery to academic centers that see a high volume of patients have better outcomes than those who are treated at local hospitals.

The research team from the University of Chicago and Albany Medical College found that pancreatic cancer patients who were treated at academic institutions had a higher likelihood of undergoing margin-negative surgeries and lymph node dissections. This means that their tumors were considered fully removed by the surgical procedures and that the patients were examined for potential invasive or metastatic disease. These improvements translated to improved overall survival for pancreatic cancer patients who underwent surgery at academic centers.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network strongly recommends that patients see surgeons who perform more than 15 pancreatic cancer surgeries each year to determine if they’re eligible for surgery and to perform the operation.

“All of our recommendations are based on studies published in biomedical journals and reported at scientific and clinical conferences,” explains Nicole Feingold, MA, director of patient services at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “This new study reinforces our position that patients should be treated by high-volume surgeons to lead to higher success rates and fewer complications.”

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Patient Central Associates can provide patients and caregivers with a list of surgeons and other physicians throughout the country who see a high volume of pancreatic cancer patients.

The study also showed that only about 26 percent of pancreatic cancer patients travel to academic centers for their surgery.

“Patient Central Associates have resources and information available for patients and their family members to identify specialists, learn about treatment options, find clinical trials and much more,” added Feingold. “We are here to help with whatever patients and caregivers need.”

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, contact Patient Central for support, resources and hope. Associates are available Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. PT, at 877-272-6226 or patientcentral@pancan.org.