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Study advances treatment of pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer can be one of the most difficult cancers to treat and survive for people in New Jersey and across the country. One study found some improved hope in a four-drug combination, and researchers noted that it could improve survival substantially when compared to a one-drug regimen. The survey applied to people with pancreatic cancer that had not spread to other regions of the body.

One reason why it is so difficult to treat pancreatic cancer is that it is so often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all until cancer has spread further throughout the body. However, a drug called folfirinox provides even greater hope for those whose pancreatic cancer is diagnosed early enough that surgical removal is possible. While around 20 percent of such patients were cancer-free five years later when using the traditional drug, Gemzar, nearly 40 percent had successful results five years later after receiving folfirinox. Around 66 percent of patients who received folfirinox survived compared to around 50 percent of Gemzar patients. The results exceeded the scientists' expectations.

The study was presented at a conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, where it was hailed as groundbreaking research that would change the way pancreatic cancer is treated. There is no standard screening test for pancreatic cancer, and symptoms often appear late. These symptoms include weight loss, abdominal pain and fatigue. Around the world, approximately 330,000 people are diagnosed annually with pancreatic cancer.

Early detection can be critical when it comes to cancer treatment, especially with the more commonly treated cancers. When a cancer diagnosis is missed early on, the consequences can be catastrophic and life-threatening. People who have suffered a worsened medical condition as a result of a misdiagnosis or medical error can consult with a medical malpractice attorney. A lawyer can provide detailed information about pursuing compensation for the harm done.

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