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My mother was a similar age to your mother when she was diagnosed, and it had already spread outside of the pancreas (stage 4). We were in the midwest in the Chicago area. I do not think there is a truly outstanding cancer hospital in the midwest that is worth traveling to for regular care. I would definitely be comfortable getting care at U of Wisconsin. In fact, we almost traveled up there from Chicago to join a clinical trial years ago. There is no one I would be excited about in the Chicago area. The most experienced oncologist in Chicago for PC is Dr Al Benson at Northwestern Hospital.
The 'best' hospital for pancreatic cancer is Johns Hopkins and often strong things are said about MD Anderson in Texas. But I would probably not travel far to get a second opinion anywhere except Johns Hopkins. If you are going to fly, why not go the best, right?
But for your mother, getting regular care near her home will be easiest for her peace of mind.
I recommend looking at the website PANCAN for resources about PC. Call them - they will let you know the most experienced PC doctors in your area and will search for relevant clinical trials in your area.
I strongly recommend asking every doctor you see.... as often as you can....
about clinical trials.
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