A close-up on pancreatic disease: How do we improve the odds?

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 24, 2007) � Pancreatic cancer is among the deadliest of today's cancers due to limited tools for early diagnosis and few effective treatments. Research presented today at Digestive Disease Week� 2007 (DDW�) takes a closer look at pancreatic cancer and the conditions that may lead to it, such as chronic pancreatitis, to evaluate the progress made to date, as well as the promising new applications of technology that will improve survival rates in the coming years. DDW is the largest international gathering of physicians and researchers in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery.

"We are confident that better technological resources and more clinical trials like those presented today will help us better manage pancreatic disease," said Mark Callery, M.D., FACS, of Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "In particular, we are hoping that these studies will eventually lead the community to more accurate, cost-effective tools for screening, early diagnosis and successful treatments."

Risk of Malignancy in Resected Cystic Tumors of the Pancreas <3 cm in Size: Is it Safe to Observe Asymptomatic Patients" A Multi-Institutional Report (Abstract #278)

Surgeons and gastroenterologists often use the size of a discovered cystic tumor as a parameter for their treatment decisions; the smaller the size, the less likely they are to take immediate invasive action. But especially in pancreatic cancer, when tumors can grow aggressively, it is critically important to watch for any signs of growth or change. Recent international guidelines have suggested that all cystic pancreatic tumors less than three centimeters (cm) in asymptomatic patients with no radiographic features concerning for malignancy are safe to observe, but there is little published data supporting this guideline.

This study reviewed the incidence of malignancy in small tumors

Contact: Aimee Frank
American Gastroenterological Association

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