Posts Tagged cancer detection

Pancreatic Cancer Isn’t Aggressive

Posted by on Saturday, 18 August, 2012
A new doctor

Let's have a look at that pancreas


Five percent.

That’s the survival rate. By the time pancreatic cancer is found it’s been there for years. 11.7 years on average. You’re not gonna have much luck with a cancer that’s had 11.7 years to  spread.

11.7 years? You thought this was an aggressive cancer, right? Boom! And you’re a goner?

Nay, nay!  Pancreatic cancer is slow it seems. But it grows in a dark and dingy place. There’s plenty of time after the train leaves the station. But it’ll circle the world a million times before you notice something’s wrong. (Enough with the railroad metaphors?)


Here’s the good news. Dr. Mike Wallace,  a “gut guy” at the Mayo Clinic, discovered a way to use an endoscope (camera on a stalk)  to look at cells in the small intestine. These cells change their appearance if there’s cancer down in the pancreas. I know this sounds cheesy. Why would you look in the intestine? It surprised the Docs too. But it certainly seems to work (though they’re trying to reduce the number of “false positives”.)  The Mayo clinic is in charge of a great big trial to see if his Polarization Gating Spectroscopy technique won’t save lives. Perhaps a lot of them.

And that’s not all.

There’s a new drug, rigosertib, that is now in phase II/III clinical trials (published in Clinical Cancer Research)  and sounds very promising. It interferes with the peculiar timing of cancer cells so that they “get stuck” before completing their reproduction cycle and die out.

Pancreatic cancer’s one of the bad ones. Maybe, with some luck, that will change.

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Image credits: Thank you me.