Recent news revealed a new medical breakthrough in pancreatic cancer. Scientists claim patients with pancreatic cancer have a chance for a better life based on the new findings. It was estimated pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death, mostly in the Western societies.
Approximately 8,800 patients are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK every year. After being diagnosed, only 20 percent of adults survive more than a year. Less than 5 percent of people survive after five years; only 1 percent of them are still alive after 10 years.
A team of researchers from Glasgow University recently discovered four major subtypes of pancreatic cancer. Each of the four subtypes has their own different clinical traits and distinct survival outcomes. Experts examined 456 patients with pancreatic cancer.
Even though the malignancy seemed to be similar, researchers pointed out four major genetic errors. Ultimately, these errors caused the growth of patients’ tumors. The errors were named as Squamous, Pancreatic Progenitor, Immunogenic and Aberrantly Differentiated Endocrine eXocrine (ADEX).
One characteristic that makes the pancreatic cancers differ from one another is the survival period of a patient after diagnosis. For instance, individuals who are diagnosed with Squamous- type cancer are given only four months to live. This is almost half of the average period of other types of cancer.
Experts claim this discovery will help them fight against this disease by providing new treatments. Knowing which of the four types of cancer a patient has will allow doctors to make more accurate prognosis and treatments suggestions. Dr. Peter Bailey, one of the scientists who conducted the study, explained
“The standard of care for pancreatic cancer really hasn’t changed in the last 20 years. There are a number of different chemotherapeutic options but in general it’s not very selective – it’s like hitting the disease with a mallet with your eyes closed”.
Individuals who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are often told by their doctors they only have less than a year to live. About 1 percent of adults with pancreatic cancer survive a decade after being diagnosed. This survival rate has remained the same for the past 40 years.
Currently, experts’ main priority is to improve survival rate for those who suffer from pancreatic cancer. This medical breakthrough in pancreatic cancer will help doctors give the right treatment to their patients. Also, experts hope they will be able to personalize the patients’ treatment based on the current discovery.
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