Hamburg-Eppendorf University Medical Centre

Professor Jakob R. Izbicki: Network of specialists for the best chance of recovery

An experienced team of doctors, nurses and physiotherapists, plus an extensive network of other medical specialists, pave the way for optimum and tailored treatment of cancer patients.

At Hamburg-Eppendorf University Medical Centre, Professor Izbicki’s General, Visceral and Thoracic Surgery Department and Clinic offers leading international medical care in the field of oncological surgery. Professor Izbicki and his team have successfully built up an outstanding reputation over many years and their department is one of only a handful around the world to offer surgery as a treatment option for pancreatic cancer.

The pancreas centre of Europe

The pancreas is one of the most complex organs in the human body. There are limited options for treating diseases of the pancreas such as pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Only a few treatment options are available if a patient has a tumour in the pancreas. As part of a systematic approach to treatment, chemotherapy drugs work on the diseased organ but also on the rest of the body. Only an operation offers the chance of removing the tumour entirely and thus curing the disease. Worldwide, only a select number of specialists have the requisite wealth of long-standing expertise to offer surgery as a treatment option for pancreatic carcinoma, and Professor Izbicki and his team are among them.

Early diagnosis is key

Professor Izbicki has more than 25 years’ experience in general, visceral and thoracic surgery and performs all complex operations on organs of the thorax and digestive system. The professor’s department carries out all the latest operative procedures, employing organ-preserving techniques wherever possible. Solutions using minimally invasive or ‘keyhole’ surgery are therefore becoming increasingly common. This represents a less aggressive form of treatment for patients, involving shorter operating times, shorter hospital stays and lower costs. Because pancreatic cancer is an aggressive form of tumour, a decision has to be made quickly as to whether an open operation is possible. If the pancreatic cancer can be surgically resected, an operation for the patient is scheduled immediately.

Teamwork and a tailored concept for each patient

The aim of Professor Izbicki and his team of doctors, nurses and physiotherapists is to either cure the patient or offer the best possible quality of life. Working with other specialists, such as in the fields of gastroenterology and endoscopy, they develop tailored treatment programmes for each individual patient. Patients and their relatives are going through an extremely difficult period of their life and all members of staff in Professor Izbicki’s department treat them accordingly, working together in the context of a tailored medical strategy and supporting the patient in non-medical matters, for example through psychological counselling.

Research for tailored therapy concepts

There has been a worldwide rise in tumours of the digestive organs. Besides operations to remove diseased tissue and interdisciplinary liaison with other departments, this problem also requires in-depth research. The professor and his team are conducting research into areas such as micrometastases and tumour-specific immunotherapy. A difficult issue in cancer treatment is the formation of metastases, which is when cancer cells spread to another part of the body. The aim of the research into micrometastases is to find an approach for necessary diagnostic examinations that prevents micrometastases from spreading. Research into immunotherapy is looking into how the body itself can best fight cancer using its own immune system, which will enable malignant diseases to be treated more effectively in the future.