Pancreatic Cancer

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What to Expect

At Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), a team of specialists will work with you and your family to develop a personalized treatment plan to meet your individual needs and goals. This team includes professionals dedicated to all facets of your care, including a medical oncologist, surgeon, radiation oncologist, radiologist, pathologist, nurse, pain and palliative care specialists, pharmacist, dietitian, social workers, research coordinators, and staff focused on your spiritual needs. At SCCA, we believe that such a highly integrated approach to pancreatic cancer care will improve both your overall treatment experience and your survival.  

Where Will I Be Seen?

Pancreatic cancer patients are initially seen on the fourth floor of the SCCA clinic in the General Oncology clinic. Surgical procedures take place at University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC). Depending on your exact diagnosis and the stage of your cancer, you may have other treatments at SCCA or at UWMC. Your doctor and their team will make sure you know where you need to go.

Your First Visit to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

The week before your first appointment as an SCCA patient, you will receive a phone call from the Pancreatic Cancer Specialty Clinic (PCSC) nurse. This nurse will walk you through the schedule for your first appointment.

The first appointment is quite long. At the end of it, you will have a comprehensive treatment plan. Here is what your schedule may look like.

  • 7-7:45 a.m. – Check in at Patient Registration on the first floor.
  • 7:45 a.m. – Check in at the General Oncology clinic on the fourth floor. You will be taken to an exam room that will be yours for the rest of your visit that day. You will likely meet the PCSC nurse in person at this time.
  • 8-9 a.m. – Discuss your medical history and have a physical exam with a doctor. This doctor may be a medical oncology fellow (a doctor receiving advanced training in medical oncology) or a resident from the University of Washington School of Medicine.
  • 9-10:15 a.m. – BREAK. This is a break for you, but it’s when your team of doctors will meet in a conference room to talk about your cancer and work out recommendations for treating it. During your break, you may want to visit the Patient & Family Resource Center or the Red Brick Bistro or enjoy the view from our waiting room.
  • 10:15 a.m. – Return to your exam room to meet a research coordinator, who will tell you about the biospecimen repository at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and how you may volunteer to participate or not.
  • 10:30 a.m. – Meet one or more members of your care team. Depending on your treatment options, you may meet with a surgeon, a medical oncologist, or both. You may also have the opportunity to meet with a dietitian, social worker, pain and palliative care specialist, and spiritual care specialist. Because our doctors specialize in pancreatic cancer, we offer innovative treatments and clinical trials that may be a part of your treatment plan, if you choose. Your team will explain if they recommend these. This part of your visit will be recorded for you and you will receive a CD at the end of your day.

    The length of this part of your visit will depend on the number of staff you meet and also your preferences. If your care team needs additional information to develop your treatment plan, you may be asked whether you have time for additional lab work or scans, like computed tomography (CT) scans or positron-emission tomography (PET) scans.

Other Team Members

Each of our medical oncologists has a specific registered oncology nurse who will support you during your care with SCCA. As you begin treatment, you will also meet your team coordinator, who schedules your appointments based on your preferences, and a mid-level provider, like a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, who will work closely with your doctor. Together this team of professionals strives to provide you with the best care and experience during your time with SCCA.

Make an Appointment

If you would like to make an appointment at SCCA or you would like more information about SCCA services, call the Patient Intake Office at (855) 557-0555. You will speak with one of our intake staff who works with pancreatic cancer patients and who will be able to answer many of your questions. Treating pancreatic cancer is a priority to us, and your first appointment can be scheduled very quickly.