Researchers may have unlocked a way to better hone in on treatments that could be effective in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. This disease, considered among the deadliest forms of cancer, has a statistically significant low survival rate that has long vexed healthcare professionals. While major advances have increased survivability for many forms of cancer, the same has not been true in regard to pancreatic. The recent finding, however, could very well change that.

Researchers in Europe have found that pancreatic cancer is technically four separate diseases. While all still “pancreatic cancer,” each of the four has its own potential treatment protocols and associated prognosis. The types are squamous, pancreatic progenitor, immunogenic and ADEX, researchers say.

The findings of the study, should they hold true in future research, could prove incredibly helpful in paving the way for treatment breakthroughs. These findings are significant because they reveal the potential that pancreatic cancer may require different and very specific treatments depending on its form. This, in turn, may someday soon enable medical professionals to create more effective, highly targeted treatments based on the form of pancreatic cancer a person is diagnosed with.

Pancreatic cancer is considered one of the deadliest forms of cancer in the United States. An estimated 49,000 Americans are diagnosed with it annually and roughly 40,000 die from the disease. People at higher risk for pancreatic cancer include smokers, diabetics, those with gallstones and people who have chronic pancreatitis. Other risk factors exist, as well. People concerned about pancreatic cancer are urged to discuss their personal risks with their healthcare providers. This disease, when caught early, can sometimes be successfully treated. Early detection protocols, however, are generally only employed in patients who exhibit extremely high risk for this somewhat rare form of cancer. To find out more, speak with a qualified healthcare provider.