The five-year survival rate of patients undergoing successful Whipple procedures is as high as 25 percent, according to WebMD. However, only around 20 percent of patients with pancreatic cancer are eligible for the procedure. Candidates for the procedure are patients with tumors confined to the pancreas head.
During a Whipple procedure, the surgeon removes the head of the pancreas, the duodenum, gallbladder, part of the common bile duct and part of the stomach, reports WebMD. The remaining pancreas, bile duct and intestine are reconnected. Only around 6 percent of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are still living five years after diagnosis, which makes the Whipple procedure a valuable option for patients with localized tumors.