Monday 20 October, 2014

Pancreatic, biliary cancers difficult to treat: Experts

Published On: Tue, Apr 22nd, 2014 | Pancreatic Cancer | By BioNews

Early diagnosis and treatment for pancreatic and biliary cancers is very challenging as development of breakthrough chemotherapy and target therapy is limited in such cases, say health experts.

“In India, every year, 10,00,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed, out of which, hepato-pancreatic and biliary cancers account for one tenth of them. Unfortunately, most of these cases when detected have already reached third and fourth stages and are considered inoperable at that time,” Shyam Agarwal, chairman and head of the department of oncology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said at a seminar on cancer here.

“Surgery and radiotherapy, the mainstay for curative treatment for these cancers are of no use when diagnosed at a later stage,” he said.

The seminar was attended by more than 300 doctors from India, Europe, Canada and North America, a release said here Tuesday.

According to experts present at the conference, it is crucial to have a holistic approach towards increasing the life expectancy of cancer patients by shifting focus from exploratory to definitive and minimally invasive treatments like robotic surgeries.

Abhideep Chaudhary, consultant surgeon, department of surgical gastroenterology and liver transplantation, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said: “Hepatic cell carcinoma occurs in 1.6 percent of patients with cirrhosis in India. Like in the US and Japan, the new protocols call for ultrasound every six months for cirrhosis patients to diagnose any tumor or cancerous growth”.

“The same must be practiced in healthcare setups in India, if we are to screen out cancer patients early for timely intervention and better clinical outcomes,” he said.

Saumitra Rawat, chairman, department of surgical gastroenterology and liver said: “In Japan, in 30 percent of cases, a liver tumor is removed surgically, enabling the patient to live a healthy life. However, in India this figure is less than five percent, presenting a dismal scenario.”

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