Early Diagnosis of Deadly Pancreatic Cancer Now Possible With Blood Test
Doctors might be able to diagnose pancreatic cancer sooner by looking at what your cells are ejecting. Pancreatic cancer is so deadly in part because it is hard to find early enough for treatment to be effective. Studies now support scientists can look for a certain protein in what are called extracellular vesicles to detect the disease.
The protein, EphA2, is considered a biomarker of pancreatic cancer because of its role in tumor growth, the study says. Those extracellular vesicles are also active in how cancer progresses and spreads, as they carry signals around your body. Looking for EphA2 in those cell-emitted bubbles, the researchers were able to use blood samples to distinguish between patients with pancreatic cancer, patients with the inflammatory illness pancreatitis and healthy controls.
Research supports having a biomarker that can detect early-stage pancreatic cancer is crucial in order to give doctors an opportunity to remove cancerous tissue from the pancreas before the disease spreads.
It is difficult to capture an early diagnostic signal when there are no symptoms – It is not like breast cancer, where you may feel pain and you can easily check for an abnormal growth.
Studies support this new method for detecting pancreatic cancer could also be used to track treatment and how well patients are responding to it.
The discovery may help more than just pancreatic cancer patients. The EphA2 protein, while mostly absent from the discharge of healthy cells, is abundant not only in the presence of pancreatic tumors but also in the early stages of other cancers like colon cancer, suggesting its potential as a target for early cancer detection.
During litigation, plaintiff will argue that a delay in diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer results in a premature and preventable death while the defense will contend that any delay would have no effect on the outcome because the prognosis for pancreatic cancer, regardless of when it is diagnosed, is very poor.
Kathleen A. Mary, RNC, Legal Nurse Consultant Certified is a time-honored medical expert who assists plaintiff and defense attorneys in navigating meritorious complexities for medical-legal claims. For over 25 years, 100% of Kathleen’s cases (hundreds) have been positively settled without trial. Please contact Kathleen for your next medical-legal case.