UC San Diego Opens New Center Dedicated to Preventing Pancreatic Cancer

According to a story from The San Diego Union-Tribune, the Pancreatic Cancer Prevention and Screening Clinic at UC San Diego Moores Cancer center has opened for the first time this past month. As the name implies, the clinic is dedicated to preventing at-risk people from contracting pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is often detected at an advanced stage and is ultimately lethal in most cases.

About Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most dangerous forms of cancer. The disease affects the pancreas, which is a glandular organ that is situated behind the stomach. Part of the reason that pancreatic cancer is so dangerous is that it rarely produces noticeable symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage and begun to spread. However, even when detected earlier, it is difficult to treat effectively. Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include being male, old age, African-American ancestry, family history, smoking, obesity, diabetes, chronic pancreatitis, and a diet heavy in red meat, processed meat, or meat cooked at very high temperatures. Symptoms include depression, upper abdominal pain, jaundice, diabetes, constipation, weight loss, and appetite loss. Treatment approaches for this cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Even with heavy treatment, pancreatic cancer almost always returns. The five year survival rate is just five percent. To learn more about pancreatic cancer, click here.

Preventing Pancreatic Cancer

The center is primarily meant for people who have various risk factors that compound their risk of getting pancreatic cancer, such as certain genetic variants, type 2 diabetes, pancreatic cysts, or chronic pancreatitis. By detecting possible evidence of cancer when it is still in its early stages, doctors hope to prevent pancreatic cancer from developing to a point where it can’t be treated effectively.

Pancreatic cancer is too rare overall for large scale screening to be warranted, but it makes sense for patients who carry risk factors to be monitored closely.

A group of scientists are researchers from UC San Diego have also been awarded with a grant of $1 million that will go towards pancreatic cancer drug testing. The grant was from the charity Stand Up To Cancer. That testing will be the continuation of prior study that has helped uncover some potential therapies that could be valuable for treating pancreatic cancer.

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