Pancreatic Cancer Found to Require Long Developmental Period Possibly Affording Early Detection

Currently less than 5% of people survive five years after having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. This is because the disease is usually not discovered until after it has spread to lymph nodes or other organs. However, recent findings have established that the period from the gene mutations causing the cancer to its actual development may take more than 10 years. Because of this slow development it is hoped that possible early detection will reduce its mortality rate.

...In pancreatic tumors obtained in autopsy from seven patients, that interval turned out to be an average of 11.7 years. It took another 6.8 years on average for tumors to appear outside the pancreas.

This long lead time might eventually enable doctors to spot genetic or protein abnormalities linked to the cancer...

Cancer confined to the pancreas is often treatable with surgery...

The findings have been published in the 10/28/10 issue of the journal, Nature.

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