About Pancreatic Cancer
Research on Pancreatic Cancer and its treatments like Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiation, Combination, Immunotherapy, and Targeted Therapy is steadily increasing. Newer treatment options lead to improvements in the understanding and overall Prognosis of Pancreatic Cancer. Yet, Pancreatic Cancer is one of the most challenging Cancers amongst all Solid tumours. Consequently, Pancreatic Cancer and its treatment are one of the biggest challenges in Cancer Research today.
Late Diagnosis: Early diagnosis in Pancreatic Cancer is not easy. Most cases of Pancreatic Cancer are diagnosed late, in advanced Stages.
Rapid Spread: Even after detection, Pancreatic Cancer is one of the most rapidly spreading and progressing Cancers.
Poor Prognosis: Pancreatic Cancer does not yield very well to the current treatments. Most patients survive only for a few months to a year if the Cancer is left untreated. Approximately, only 20 % of the patients will survive beyond the first year after diagnosis, and only around 5 % beyond 5 years.
Race and Gender: Pancreatic Cancer is more common in the developed countries like the US, UK, Canada, Europe, some South American countries, than the rest of the world; and it is more common in men than in women.
Risk Factors: Smoking, Obesity, Sedentary lifestyle, Family history, Genetic mutations (KRAS, BRAF, DPC4), Diabetes and Chronic Pancreatitis are some of the common Risk factors.
Pancreatic Cancer Treatment Options
Given the poor prognosis and rapid progress of Pancreatic Cancer, treatment options are not always well-defined based on the Staging. The treatment options need to be customized on an individual case basis. Following is a rough guideline:
Treatment Options by Stages
Stage I or II: Surgery to remove the tumour mass is the treatment of choice in resectable Cancer. Depending on your Pancreatic Cancer case, Neoadjuvant or Adjuvant therapies in the form of Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy or Combination Therapy could also be used.
Stage III or IV: Combination Therapy consisting of Systemic Chemotherapy, Targeted Therapy, Immunotherapy + Radiation is the treatment of choice. Also, Surgery might be used as an additional Palliative treatment or to remove the tumour mass and surrounding tissue.
The Global Cancer Research community understands the critical importance of Research and Clinical Trials (for new Treatments) in Pancreatic Cancer. It is encouraging to witness an increasing investment of resources in Pancreatic Cancer Research over the past couple of decades.
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