In spite of recent advances in surgery, carcinoma of the pancreas still carries a grave prognosis. Most of the cases that come to surgery are unresectable. Carcinoma of the body and tail of the pancreas is usually diagnosed too late. The incidence of resectability for cancer of the head of the pancreas, which is diagnosed relatively earlier, ranges from 0% to 27% as in Table 1.
There were 26 (7%) five-year survivals among 366 patients who had pancreatoduodenectomy reported between 1960 to 1965.
There were no five-year survivals in the unresected cases, therefore, the overall five-year survival of the carcinoma of the head of the pancreas is much less than 1%.
Reports show that the surgical mortality of the pancreatoduodenectomy ranges from 11.9% to 30% or more. This led some surgeons to abandon pancreatoduodenectomy. Others, such as Child III and Frey1 considered it as a palliative operation if applied
Elias EG. Carcinoma of the Pancreas. Arch Surg. 1969;98(2):138–140. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1969.01340080030003