In my last several posts I discussed the research our group at BC Cancer Agency and Pancreas Centre BC, as well as others are involved in: looking at developing new treatments and ways to personalize treatment strategies for pancreatic cancer.

Today I’d like to touch on the work we and others are doing to understand what causes pancreatic cancer in the first place, an area of the disease which remains poorly understood. 

One of the major issues with pancreatic cancer is that it is difficult to detect until it reaches an advanced stage, when surgery is no longer possible. For many cancers there are screening tests, especially for patients who are at high risk. But for pancreatic cancer it remains uncertain how to best screen and which groups should be screened.

An exciting study recently determined that it likely takes years or even decades from the time pancreatic cancer cells first develop to the time these cancers have grown enough to become clinically detectable. This means there is a large window of time for these cancers to be detected and treated earlier, if more effective screening test could be made available.

In my final post tomorrow, I will share what we will do with this knowledge in the future, to help provide better solutions for pancreatic cancer patients in B.C.

Thanks for reading,
Dan 

Medical Oncologist and Co-Director of Pancreas Centre BC