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ASGE and The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Partner to Raise Awareness About Pancreatic Cancer
Date:11/24/2008

pancreas or dilation of the pancreatic duct. EUS and EUS-FNA have become valuable tools in the diagnostic evaluation of patients with suspected pancreatic cancer. Another test that may be required is known as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). During this test a small camera (scope) is used to inject a dye into the ducts that drain bile and the pancreatic juices. It also allows doctors to insert a small tube (stent) if needed to relieve a blockage.

Treatments

Treatments are generally decided based on the stage of the cancer. Currently, surgery offers the only potential for a cure. It is estimated that only 15 percent of pancreatic cancer cases are caught early enough for surgery. Most patients will have a recurrence within two years.

The most commonly used surgical procedure to remove tumors in this stage is called the Whipple procedure, named after the doctor who developed the technique in 1935. A Whipple procedure treats cancer of the head of the pancreas (the widest part) and generally involves removing most of the pancreas and part of the small intestine, bile duct and stomach. Surgery may be followed by chemotherapy or a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. If the tumor has spread into surrounding tissue or organs and cannot be removed by surgery, then the treatment becomes medical and focused on the control of the disease and optimal symptom relief with a chance for increased survival.

An estimated 52 percent of pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer that has spread to distant organs or sites. Chemotherapy alone, without surgery or radiation, is the recommended treatment for patients at this stage. The goal of treatment in this case is palliative care - optimal relief of symptoms and improvement in quality of life. Unfortunately, only two percent of pancreatic cancer patients who are diagnosed at this stage will su
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SOURCE American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
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