The UA Department of Surgery HepatoPancreaticoBiliary Program treats the complex and often interrelated conditions of the liver, pancreas, gallbladder and biliary system. Our interdisciplinary services draw on expertise from the fields of surgery, transplantation, oncology, hepatology, gastroenterology, radiology, radiation therapy, anesthesia, pain management and pediatrics. If cancer is diagnosed, the HPC Center collaborates closely with the Arizona Cancer Center, one of 39 comprehensive cancer centers in the U.S. designated by the National Cancer Institute.
What Sets Us Apart
The National Pancreas Foundation has recognized a multidisciplinary team at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center Tucson for their ability to handle complex care of patients suffering from pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and related diseases by accrediting the hospital as one of 30 new NPF Centers nationally and the only one in Arizona.
“We are honored that our academic medical center has been designated an NPF Center for treatment of pancreatitis,” said Tom Dickson, CEO, Banner – UMC Tucson and South. “Having the NPF Center designation will help distinguish our hospital as an institution whose focus is on providing the best and most innovative care possible.”
The gastroenterologist who led the accreditation effort, John T. Cunningham, MD, professor in the Department of Medicine at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, said the most common medical cases seen at Banner – UMC Tucson involve endoscopic and surgical management of chronic pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas that causes severe abdominal pain. The hospital also treats pancreatic cancer and is looking to reactivate its pancreas transplant program, which has been idle for two years.
The pancreas is a large gland behind the lower stomach that produces insulin and digestive enzymes. About 200,000 to 3 million U.S. cases of pancreatitis occur each year, according to the National Institutes of Health Library of Medicine and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pain may start suddenly and last for days or can occur over many years. More than three-quarters of cases are from alcohol use and gallstones — the most common cause of acute pancreatitis. Treatment may involve a few days in the hospital for intravenous fluids, medicine to relieve pain and nutritional support. Severe cases may require lifestyle changes, a special diet, taking enzymes and surgery.
About 50 to 75 pancreatic resection surgeries and Whipple procedures for pancreatic cancer are done each year at Banner – UMC Tucson, as well as at least 100 endoscopic ultrasounds specifically to track pancreatic cystic neoplasms. This is out of 600-800 endoscopic ultrasound procedures annually.
The new designation focuses on multidisciplinary treatment of pancreatitis, treating the “whole patient” with a focus on best-possible outcomes and improved quality of life. The criteria to be an approved NPF referral treatment center were developed by a team of outside experts and patient advocates and include having designated core personnel such as a program director, social workers, psychiatrists, dietitians, gastroenterologists, pathologists, interventional radiologists, endocrinologists, dietitians, pain specialists and pancreaticobiliary surgeons.
About the National Pancreas Foundation
Founded in 1997, the National Pancreas Foundation provides hope for those suffering from pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer through funding cutting-edge research, advocating for new and better therapies, and providing support and education for patients, caregivers and health-care professionals. The NPF is the only foundation dedicated to patients suffering from all forms of pancreas disease. Learn more at www.pancreasfoundation.org
Media Contact: Carlos David Mogollón
Original Story: UA Medical Team Wins Accreditation for Banner – UMC Tucson as Treatment Referral Center by National Pancreas Foundation
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