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New Blood Test Could Detect Pancreatic Cancer Earlier

New Blood Test Could Detect Pancreatic Cancer Earlier
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Alan Mozes/HealthDay


Alan Mozes/HealthDay (click to view)

Alan Mozes/HealthDay

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A new, low-cost blood test may be an effective way to detect pancreatic cancer early, a research team says.

The nation’s No. 3 cancer killer, pancreatic cancer often goes undiagnosed until it is too far along to remove.

Current screening techniques typically catch it only “after it causes pronounced symptoms, when it has advanced far enough to be lethal,” said study author Kenneth Zaret, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Sometimes it’s found during a body scan for another health issue. But such scans are too costly for routine screening, even for people with a high risk of pancreatic cancer, he said. That includes parents, siblings or children of people who have had pancreatic cancer; those with some gene mutations; and people over 50 who suddenly develop diabetes.


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 “A low-cost, noninvasive test, such as we have developed, could be useful for routine screening of individuals who are at high risk for pancreatic cancer,” Zaret said.
Current screening focuses on shifting levels of tell-tale blood proteins, according to the American Cancer Society. But such tests are considered unreliable, and the ACS does not recommend routine screening for those who are not known to be at high-risk.

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