Management of patients at high risk for pancreatic cancer
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Because pancreatic cancer patients seldom exhibit disease-specific symptoms until the cancer is at an advanced stage, its diagnosis is a virtual death sentence. Therefore, to make a significant impact on long-term survival for subjects with pancreatic cancer, asymptomatic individuals would have to be screened for premalignant precursors of pancreatic cancer or for asymptomatic pancreatic cancer. A number of formidable obstacles limit the ability of healthcare providers to screen for early neoplastic changes and to make a very early and specific diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. These include lack of a high-risk population for sporadic pancreatic cancer and lack of a simple, noninvasive test sensitive enough to detect small cancers. However, progress is being made in defining various high-risk groups for pancreatic cancer, and improvements in imaging modalities make detection of premalignant lesions and small cancers possible in such individuals. The protocols currently being studied, including use of endoscopic ultrasound and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography to detect precancerous lesions and small pancreatic cancer in high-risk patients, are still in the research arena and not yet ready for clinical practice.
KeywordsPancreatitis Pancreatic Cancer Chronic Pancreatitis Lynch Syndrome Pancreatic Juice
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References and Recommended Reading
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