Pancreatic cancer – one of the most insidious forms of cancer – does not manifest itself in any way and kills within a few months. When a person starts having problems, it is often too late for treatment. In about 10% of patients, the disease can be predicted, for example, due to the presence of it in the family. For them, screening of persons from risk groups is intended, which should officially begin at the beginning of next year.
People belonging to this group should have regular annual check-ups at one of thirty digestive endoscopy centers. Now highly specialized centers are awaiting accreditation and should receive it within a few weeks.
“If we detect pancreatic cancer at an early stage and act quickly, we can extend the patient’s life by several years. This is also confirmed by a number of intertiol studies, including the recently published extensive CAPS study. This proves that with targeted screening of individuals at risk, life expectancy increases from tens of months to 5 years, which is a huge success for this diagnosis.” explains doc. MD Ondřej Urban, Ph.D. Chairman of the Czech Gastroenterological Society (ČGS) ČLS JEP.
Complex start of the project
The fil launch of the screening program and the development of other modern methods are hampered by administrative errors and some health insurance companies changing their requirements for centers, thereby slowing down the process of their creation. “It turns out that although at the professiol level we have a desire to be comparable with developed countries, at the organizatiol level this energy is not obvious. We have been striving for the creation of the Center for Digestive Endoscopy for 3 years, we received the support of the former Prime Minister and Director of the VZP, but so far not a single center has been created.” describes the chairman of the CHS.
Good news from the Minister of War
“However, at the last meeting, the current Minister of Health assured us that the establishment of centers is one of his priorities and that the situation will soon improve. This is great news for patients.”
Doctors are already examining patients at risk. “This is how we test dozens of people a year,” complements doc. Urban, which is the chapter II. interl clinic of gastroenterology and geriatrics of the Olomouc University Hospital. The screening will concern people with a family history of cancer, people with the so-called BRCA gene, which is also the cause of breast cancer, are also at risk.
Those who suffer from chronic inflammation of the pancreas or who have been diagnosed with polyposis syndrome (multiple polyps form in the colon and other parts of the digestive tract) should also have regular check-ups.
The tumor develops even within 10 years
Pancreatic cancer – one of the most insidious tumors – is asymptomatic until the last moment, although it has been developing for more than 10 years. When a person starts having problems, it is often too late for treatment.
The number of patients is constantly increasing, and, according to experts, by 2030 it will be the most common fatal disease of the digestive tract. In the Czech Republic, 2,300 people fall ill every year, which puts the country in 6th place in Europe.
“We are looking forward to assigning the status to specialized endoscopic workstations. In them, the pancreas of persons at risk is examined by specially trained endoscopists who have at their disposal a special gastroscope with an ultrasonic sensor. If on conventiol computed tomography a pancreatic tumor is visible from 2 centimeters, then an experienced specialist with a high-quality apparatus can detect a tumor from 5 millimeters. With tumor sizes less than a centimeter, approximately 40% of patients survive for another 5 years. Once 1 centimeter has grown but is still less than 2 cm, only 20% of patients will survive five years.” the doctor describes.
He plays the part every day
This year, gastroenterologists have also maged to significantly reduce the time between diagnosis and treatment of this serious disease. Together with the Czech Society of Surgery, they are working on simplifying and optimizing the diagnostic process that a patient with pancreatic cancer must undergo before surgery. “We clarified what really needs to be examined in a patient so that the time before the operation is not delayed unnecessarily. We were able to speed up the process by a few weeks, which is absolutely necessary for patients with this diagnosis, when every day counts.” delivered the doc. Urban.