A new study has suggested that pancreatic cancer could be diagnosed up to three years earlier. The research, which is yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, looked at the records of over 200,000 people in the UK.
The team, from the University of Dundee, found that when symptoms were spotted early and investigated, pancreatic cancer was diagnosed an average of 31 months earlier than when presenting with late-stage symptoms.
Lead author, Professor Owen Parkes, said: “This is a significant finding as we know that early diagnosis of cancer is vital for successful treatment.
“Although this research is at an early stage, if these results are replicated in larger studies, it could have a real impact on survival rates from this aggressive cancer.”
While the study only looked at people in the UK, the authors believe that the findings could be applied to other countries with similar healthcare systems.
Pancreatic cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in the Western world, and the prognosis is often poor. In the UK, only 3% of people diagnosed with the disease survive for more than five years.
There are currently no screening programmes for pancreatic cancer in place, and the symptoms can often be vague and non-specific.
Professor Parkes and his team hope that their findings could lead to the development of a screening programme for the disease, which could save many lives.
This research is yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, so further studies are needed to confirm the findings. However, the findings offer hope that pancreatic cancer could one day be diagnosed much earlier, giving patients a much better chance of survival.
Pancreatic cancer is notoriously difficult to diagnose early, as it often only produces symptoms when the disease is at an advanced stage. However, a new study has suggested that the disease could be diagnosed up to three years earlier, using a simple blood test.
The study, published in the journal Cancer Cell, looked at the levels of a protein called CECR1 in the blood of pancreatic cancer patients. The researchers found that patients with pancreatic cancer had significantly higher levels of CECR1 than healthy individuals.
Importantly, the team also found that CECR1 levels were elevated in the blood of patients with early-stage pancreatic cancer, before the disease had produced any symptoms. This suggests that a simple blood test could be used to diagnose pancreatic cancer at its earliest stage, when treatment is most likely to be successful.
Currently, there is no routine screening test for pancreatic cancer, so the disease is often diagnosed at a late stage, when it is very difficult to treat. If the findings of this study are confirmed in larger trials, it could have a major impact on the way pancreatic cancer is diagnosed and treated in the future.