Early Pancreatic Cancer Detection Gives Patients an Advantage


Chicago, IL, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Pancreatic cancer is on the rise, especially in people younger than 55. It’s also increasing more rapidly in women than in men. More than 56 thousand people will be diagnosed with it this year. There is no single cause but some factors that increase your risk include smoking, excessive alcohol abuse, if you are African American and if you have a strong family history of not only pancreatic cancer, but also

Pastor Brenda Bravatty takes her message of faith around the world. She believes she’s alive today because of divine intervention.

Brenda explains, “The fact that I am here is really a combination of faith and the medical treatment that I had, because I had no symptoms, it was quite a surprise.”

But Brenda is high-risk. Her mother, aunt and uncle all died from cancer. Then two brothers were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Rajesh Keswani, MD, Interventional Gastroenterologist at Northwestern Medicine says, “Most patients with pancreas cancer, unfortunately, also die from pancreas cancer.”

That’s why Keswani enrolled Brenda in a high-risk pancreas screening program. When her MRI came back normal, he recommended an endoscopic ultrasound to look for the smallest sign of the disease.

“That’s a special camera that goes through the mouth, and with a little ultrasound at the end of it, I can actually look through the stomach or look through the small intestine at the pancreas itself.” Explains Doctor Keswani.

Brenda says, “He said, ‘This is so small, I cannot believe this.’”

Eighty percent of the time, pancreatic cancer is found too late. However, if you have just one family member who had pancreatic or breast cancer, with the BRCA one or two mutation, it’s crucial to get screened.

Doctor Keswani says, “Finding it early for someone like this is really their only hope of not passing away from pancreas cancer.”

Brenda had surgery to remove her tumor, followed by six months of chemo. Today she is cancer-free.

“I never thought that I was going to die. I had, really, faith that I was going to go through.”

Now Brenda preaches preventative care and her story of hope and survival.

Doctor Keswani says if you do have a history of cancer in your family, it’s not only important to talk to your doctor, but consult a cancer genetics expert and join a program dedicated to high-risk individuals. Doctor Keswani says BRCA one and two are just one of several genetic causes.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Kevin Hale, Editor. Videographer, Kirk Manson.


https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langas/article/PIIS2468-1253(23)00039-0/fulltext#:~:text=A%20new%20analysis%20of%20data,in%20women%20than%20in%20menEARLY PANCREATIC CANCER DETECTION GIVES PATIENTS AN ADVANTAGE

REPORT #3163

BACKGROUND: This year in the United States around 66,440 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer forms when exocrine cells in the pancreas start to grow out of control. The pancreas is made mostly of these exocrine cells that form glands and ducts which help you digest food. Endocrine cells make up the rest of the pancreas which forms hormones like insulin and glucagon. It’s important to know when someone is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer if it’s an exocrine cancer or an endocrine cancer because they have distinct risk factors and causes. They also have different signs and symptoms, are diagnosed with different tests, treated in different ways, and have different prognosis.

(Source: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/types/pancreatic-cancer/about/key-statistics.html#:~:text=The%20American%20Cancer%20Society’s%20estimates,be%20diagnosed%20with%20pancreatic%20cancer and https://www.cancer.org/cancer/types/pancreatic-cancer/about/what-is-pancreatic-cancer.html)

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS: There are usually no noticeable signs when it comes to pancreatic cancer until it hits advanced stages. When it has reached this stage, some symptoms may include pain in the abdomen or mid-back that can be caused by a tumor pushing against the nerves or organs; digestive issues causing gas and bloating due to a build-up of extra fluid in the abdomen; loss of appetite, indigestion, or nausea that can affect a person’s ability to digest food and absorb nutrients; unexplained weight loss because the body is not able to use calories and proteins like normal; jaundice causing the eyes and skin to look yellow due to bilirubin buildup that can happen if a tumor blocks the bile flowing from the gallbladder into the small intestine; diarrhea, constipation, or both resulting from the digestive system working too slowly; or a sudden onset of type 2 diabetes in those who have a low body mass index, experience continuous weight loss, or do not have a family history of diabetes.    

(Source: https://pancan.org/news/7-pancreatic-cancer-symptoms-and-signs-you-should-know/?gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAjwzN-vBhAkEiwAYiO7oHyq0MSUH0qv-OvS_TEEujQASFs9WvTeeNGzcVduBZVbnuvOA0snxBoCGLoQAvD_BwE)

NEW DISCOVERY OPENS DOOR: Researchers at Wilmot Cancer Institute had a breakthrough when learning about the genetic changes that occur during tumor migration and discovering a drug that can obstruct the process. Darren Carpizo, MD, PhD, co-leader of Wilmot’s Genetics, Epigenetics and Metabolism research program, and chief of Surgical Oncology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, said, “We will be the first institution in the U.S. to study the safety and effectiveness of the experimental drug, known as NP137, on pancreatic cancer that has spread to the liver.” Results showed in preliminary mice and tissue studies, when Netrin-1 was suppressed with the anti-cancer drug NP137, cancer was less likely to spread, and cancer cells died. Moving forward in trials with human patients, they will be required to take two cycles of NP137 before surgery, undergo surgery, and then take more of the experimental medication while having chemotherapy treatments for up to six months.

(Source: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/story/pancreatic-cancer-discovery-opens-the-door-for-new-clinical-trial-at-wilmot)

* For More Information, Contact:

Michelle Green, Media Relations

Northwestern Medicine



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