Improved Approaches in Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

Previously, a doctor at any oncology center would diagnose pancreatic cancer, which would be the end of your hopes. But now, thanks to new treatment methods, people with this cancer live much longer than before.  

The Full Picture  

A CT or MRI scan is usually used to identify cancer’s location and possible spread. A traditional approach is to give a patient a standard scan where they find the tumour and then operate on it. But this method has yet to be successful for everyone. PET scans and newer genetic testing are necessary to make the cancer stage accurate. These tests can help determine if the treatment works effectively to shrink the tumour, whereas traditional CT scans have a limited capacity to assess response in primary pancreatic tumours.  

Patients are doing tremendously well after the PET scan. Doctors will prescribe this test to patients who have responded to treatment, hoping they’ll see a response and then they can pivot and switch to a different therapy if needed.  

Tests & Treatments Tailored for Each Patient  

Initial testing and staging of pancreatic cancer are vital in uncovering weaknesses or potential threats in each unique pancreatic cancer case. Mayo Clinic Oncology Center for Individualized Medicine found that 16% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer had an inherited gene mutation that might have predisposed them to the disease. The most common type of gene mutation among those patients was the BRCA2 gene, which is associated with breast cancer.  

The data from this study and other sources have contributed to a recent change in guidelines that recommend genetic testing for all pancreatic cancer patients, regardless of their disease stage or family history of the condition.  

No More Inoperability?  

In cases where the tumour has grown out of the pancreas and encases critical blood vessels, pancreatic cancer may be considered inoperable. This means patients live a shorter time before dying from their disease, making it more difficult to recover after surgery.   

Mayo Clinic pancreatic cancer experts use a type of therapy known as neoadjuvant treatment, which delivers chemotherapy before surgery to destroy microscopic cancer cells in the body. Combined with personalized surgery for each patient’s anatomy, this enables them to remove tumours and reconstruct blood vessels. This has been useful for patients who didn’t have that option before and have had much better results.  

Surgery can be an excellent option for cancer patients looking to extend their lives. Before doctors at any cancer care hospital perform any surgery, they always ensure it’s the best option to achieve both goals.  


Pancreatic cancer continues to have the highest mortality rate, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will lead to death. It is serious cancer that requires immediate medical attention, but fortunately, treatments are available. And these treatments aren’t just effective in any good cancer care hospital; they’re improving all the time so that we can expect significant progress in the future. 

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