A team of experts in pancreatic cancer care at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center are collaborating to improve patient outcomes with a new high-risk pancreatic cancer screening program. This is the only known program of its kind in the state and a concept being embraced at some of the most respected cancer centers throughout the country.
Most pancreatic cancers are identified at later stages making them inoperable or incurable. Now these specialists at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center are hoping to intervene at an earlier stage, providing a better opportunity for survival for a larger group of patients.
“There are subgroups of patients who are known to have a higher risk either because of genetic mutations or family history,” says John Lyons, M.D., surgical oncologist and chair of the Cancer Center’s Hepatobiliary Multidisciplinary Cancer Care Team. “Our goal is to identify people with the highest risk of developing pancreatic cancer and enroll them into our program, allowing us to personalize a prevention and screening plan based on their risk factors.”
With November recognized as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, the development of this program comes at the most opportune time. This year in Louisiana, 900 new pancreatic cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed with approximately 700 people dying from the disease.
“Many other cancers have screenings and preventative procedures to reduce a patient’s risk of the disease,” says Dr. Lyons. “We thought there ought to be something to offer patients with a high risk of pancreas cancer.”
Dr. Lyons explains that finding a tumor in its earlier stages usually allows his team to perform surgery in a minimally invasive fashion with the help of advanced treatment options.
“We have several surgeons at the Cancer Center that focus on pancreas cancer and are very equipped to do robotic procedures,” says Dr. Lyons. “This means fewer incisions for the patient, which often times can lead to a quicker recovery and fewer days in the hospital.”
Dr. Lyons also explains more about the new program in the video below.