The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner search feed instagram google-plus avvo phone envelope checkmark mail-reply spinner error close
Skip to main content

Pancreatic Cancer can go undetected until it has advance to the point where successful treatment is unlikely.  Pancreatic cancer is notorious for its poor prognosis, with a low overall 5-year survival rate of only 8.7%.  Early detection gives you the best chance of survival, but the diagnosis of cancer by fine needle aspiration, due to misinterpretation and misdiagnosis by a pathologist can lead to a death sentence not from cancer, but the poison of unnecessary chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries.

If your doctor suspects pancreatic cancer, the following tests are available:

  • Imaging tests that create pictures of your internal organs, CT, MRI, PET, and ERCP;
  • Using a scope to create ultrasound pictures of your pancreas, EUS, angiography;
  • Removing a tissue sample for testing, biopsy, FNA;
  • Blood tests, specific proteins, tumor markers.

You should always get at least an endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and other diagnostic testing, including a biopsy, to confirm a lesion is cancer before considering a radical surgery such as a Whipple resection.  If treatment such as chemotherapy and/or radiation is considered before surgery, an accurately interpreted biopsy is needed first to be sure of the diagnosis.  Just as the failure to timely detect or a false negative interpretation is likely a death sentence, the over-read or false positive can be as well.

Although atypical or suspicious cytology may support a clinical diagnosis of a cancer, it is not sufficient for the implementation of treatment for a patient.  Endoscopic ultrasound – guided fine-needle aspiration biopsy (EUS-FNAB) has been around for approximately 2 decades and can assist in obtaining cytology samples and decrease the number of atypical/suspicious diagnosis.  While EUS-FNAB is a safe and highly accurate method for tissue diagnosis of patients with solid pancreatic lesions, patients with suspicious and atypical EUS-FNAB aspirates deserve further clinical evaluation.

Comments are closed.

Of Interest