Pancreatic cancer is one of the trickiest diagnoses in the cancer world. Very difficult to detect, pancreatic cancer often produces no symptoms in the beginning so screenings are not thought to be done by doctors unless there is something very significant to address. Unfortunately, however, by the time a screening is done and cancer is diagnosed, it’s at a point where treatment may not be very effective.
As scientists continue to research better options for more accurate detection and diagnosis, more comes to light about what doctors can look for in the body that can identify the potential presence of pancreatic cancer as early as possible.
Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer is very difficult to diagnose and can often only be officially diagnosed through surgery during which pancreatic lesions are removed to be tested. This is a highly invasive procedure with a variety of complications. Doctors and researchers have long looked for appropriate measures for testing for pancreatic cancer without the patient having to undergo surgery.
Recent studies have shown that early detection may be possible by examining small molecules called microRNAs. These particular molecules are found in cancer tumor tissue, body fluid, and blood.
The research has shown that it’s possible that six particular microRNAs may be the earliest indicator of pancreatic cancer. MicroRNAs can indicate whether pancreatic lesions are low or high risk.
There is hope that the development of a specific microRNA blood test will allow doctors to determine if particular lesions need to be removed immediately. This, in turn, allows for far earlier detection, diagnosis, and the avoidance of unnecessary invasive procedures.
With regard to pancreatic cancer, there is nothing more important than finding better, more effective means for earlier diagnosis. With better tools available, more lives can be saved and that is ultimately the goal of research into committed pancreatic cancer – and all cancer.