by Sarah Knapton
A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer has long been viewed as a death sentence, with less than one per cent of people surviving for five years, and many dying within 12 months. But at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, surgeons have spent seven years trialling a new kind of treatment which is allowing people to live for at least five times as long, and some patients may even now be cured. Cancer specialists have found that giving chemotherapy and radiotherapy to patients before surgery has a dramatic outcome on survival.
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BBC, Pancreatic cancer study — Dr. Truty’s pancreatic cancer study: Runs from the 19-minute, 31-second mark to the 21-minute mark.
NBC News, Pancreatic cancer is often deadly, but a new approach is raising hope by Erik Edwards — Bill Bastian was caught completely off-guard when a doctor told him that he had pancreatic cancer and would only have 15 months to live. It was August 2015 and Bastian had thought the pain in his belly was due to something he ate. “One of the things I thought was, you got the wrong guy,” said Bastian, 69, of Eden Prairie, Minnesota. His cancer was stage 3, meaning it had not spread from his pancreas to other organs, but had grown into a critical artery just outside his pancreas. That made it inoperable, according to his doctor at the time. That’s when Bastian decided to seek another opinion at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. There, he received a totally different prognosis: surgery — and longer survival — were possible…The Mayo Clinic approach works like this: Patients are given extended, personalized chemotherapy until levels of a tumor marker in the blood called CA 19-9 fall to a normal range. Then if a PET scan shows the tumor is destroyed, doctors move forward with radiation and surgery.
Context: Historically, most pancreatic cancer patients whose tumors grow outside the pancreas to encompass veins and arteries have been told the cancer is inoperable and they should prepare for an average survival time of 12 to 18 months. A newly published Mayo Clinic study finds that a pre-surgery treatment plan focused on three factors can extend life years beyond that. The findings are published in the Annals of Surgery, the journal of the American Surgical Association and European Surgical Association. You can read more about the study on Mayo Clinic News Network.
Contact: Sharon Theimer