New pancreatic cancer therapies extending lives

(Dennis Thompson/ HealthDay) — Advances in chemotherapy and cancer monitoring can dramatically extend the lives of almost one-third of pancreatic cancer patients with tumors previously considered inoperable, researchers report.

It’s good news for patients with a particularly deadly form of cancer that’s been highlighted by the recent diagnosis of Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

About 35% of pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed with tumors that have started to grow outside the pancreas and involve many critical blood vessels surrounding the organ, explained lead researcher Dr. Mark Truty. He is a cancer surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Those patients have historically been told that their cancer is inoperable, and that they have only another 12 to 18 months left to live, the researchers said. (…)

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