What happens before the surgery?

Before your operation, you will have some tests to check your general health. These may include blood tests, a chest x-ray or a recording of your heart (ECG). A member of the surgical team and a specialist nurse will discuss the operation with you. You will also be visited by the doctor who will give you your anaesthetic (the anaesthetist). This doctor may arrange more tests for you.

You will be given special elastic stockings (TED stockings) to wear during and after the operation to prevent blood clots forming in your legs.

Make sure you talk to your nurse or doctor about any questions or concerns you have about the operation.

If you smoke, try to give up or cut down before your operation. This will help reduce your risk of chest problems, such as a chest infection. It will also help your wound to heal after the operation. Your GP can give you advice and you may find it helpful to read our information on giving up smoking.

Some hospitals follow an enhanced recovery programme. This aims to reduce your time in hospital and to speed up your recovery after an operation. These programmes involve you more in your own care. For example, you will be given information about diet and exercise before surgery and any arrangements needed for you to go home will be put in place for you. Your doctor will tell you if an enhanced recovery programme is suitable for you and if it’s available – not all hospitals have them.

Back to Surgery explained

Surgery for pancreatic cancer

Some people with early-stage pancreatic cancer have surgery to remove the cancer. Some people have surgery to relieve symptoms.

Who might I meet?

A team of specialists will plan your surgery. This will include a surgeon who specialises in your type of cancer.

What happens after surgery?

You’ll be monitored closely after your operation. How quickly you recover will depend on the surgery you’ve had.