New breakthroughs may help in the fight against pancreatic cancer, but it still remains a deadly disease because it’s often caught in later, harder-to treat stages.
However, hope may be on the horizon.
University of California San Diego scientists developed a test that can detect 95-percent of early pancreatic cancers, according to research published in Nature Communications Medicine.
“Pancreatic cancer has the lowest five-year relative survival rate of all major cancer killers and is the only one for which both the incidence and death rates are increasing,” says Dr. Andrew Lowy, clinical director for Cancer Surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “Pancreatic cancer is notoriously difficult to detect early, at a stage when surgical resection, the only curative therapy, is possible. At this stage, patients typically have few if any symptoms.”
Another advance included a personalized mRNA vaccine for pancreatic cancer that’s showing promising results in early and small trials.
“Unlike some of the other immunotherapies, these mRNA vaccines do appear to have the ability to stimulate immune responses in pancreatic cancer patients,” Dr. Vinod Balachandran, who is leading the trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering, told the New York Post of the promising preliminary results.
Breakthroughs like these are so important for pancreatic cancer. However, for now, early detection as well as targeted treatment are vital.
Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer
While there may not be many symptoms until later in the disease, according to the Mayo Clinic, it’s important that if you experience any of the following symptoms you see your doctor, and if you aren’t satisfied with what your doctor says, seek a second opinion.
- Abdominal pain that radiates to your back
- Itchy skin
- Darker urine
- Lighter stools
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- Newly diagnosed diabetes
- Harder to control existing diabetes
- Blood clots
Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
Treatment for pancreatic cancer can include surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. Sometimes doctors may use a combination of therapies as well.
According to one study, Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy or SBRT – the type of radiation used at the CyberKnife Center of Miami, South Florida’s premiere cancer treatment center – can provide “therapeutic benefits” with “advantages in quality of life” over conventional therapies.
The advantages include pain control, treating primary and metastatic tumors and helping patients who don’t qualify for surgery or don’t want it and opt for radiation instead.
Cancer Treatment Center Miami
CyberKnife is a non-invasive treatment so there are no risks of infection like those associated with surgery. In general, treatment time is shorter than with traditional radiation. There is little to no recovery time, and the procedures are done on an outpatient basis.
“CyberKnife is the most refined way to target a tumor and minimize the dose to normal tissue and nearby organs,” says Dr. Mark Pomper, a board-certified radiation oncologist and medical director at CyberKnife Miami, on CyberKnife Miami’s YouTube Channel.
Accuray, the maker of Cyberknife says: “Accurate and precise delivery helps minimize irradiation of the healthy tissues surrounding tumors and potentially the risk of side effects, which may lead to better quality of life for the patient both during and after treatment.”
CyberKnife therapy has been used to treat thousands of patients worldwide, and right here in Miami and South Florida for two decades. In fact, we often see patients who were turned away from other centers and told there was no hope.
If you are interested in learning more about CyberKnife for pancreatic cancer, call us at 305-279-2900 or go to our website www.cyberknifemiami.com.