Pancreatic cancer, arguably made infamous by Steve Jobs’ battle with it, is the 4th leading cause of cancer death in Western countries. And, according to a new study that recommends MRI screening to catch it early, the incidence and mortality rates of this deadly disease are almost one and the same.
The study, entitled Short-Term Results of a Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Based Swedish Screening Program for Individuals at Risk for Pancreatic Cancer was published this month in JAMA Surgery.
The researchers used MR imaging to follow the cases of 40 participants–16 men and 24 women aged approximately 50 years–with increased risk of pancreatic cancer due to family history and/or genetic mutations such as BRCA1 and BRCA2.
Each patient was scanned initially, then scanned again at a follow-up appointment roughly a year later. The researchers found pancreatic cancers in 40 per cent of the group–in 16 of the 40 participants. Five patients required surgery, and the remaining participants remain under observation.
Say the researchers in their conclusion: “Although the study time was relatively short, the surveillance program in individuals at risk seems to be effective.”