National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in its new guidance has recommended the use of more accurate scanning techniques for diagnosis and staging of pancreatic cancer.
NICE recently published its first guideline on the diagnosis and management of pancreatic cancer. The recommendations call for use of a different type of CT scan, known as positron emission tomography (PET)-CT to help accelerate the diagnostic process and accurately determine the stage of cancer.
With the adoption of PET-CT scanning, NICE estimates that a greater number of patients with advanced and inoperable pancreatic cancer will no longer have to undergo unnecessary surgery which had no curative value. A 20% drop in resection surgeries for pancreatic cancers is expected. It will also ensure that inoperable patients get early access to other treatment options such as chemotherapy.
An estimated 9500 new cases of pancreatic cancer are diagnosed in the United Kingdom annually, with the average life expectancy after diagnosis being 4-6 months. According to Professor Mark Baker, director of the centre for guidelines at NICE, "The use of PET-CT makes the staging process more effective so that patients stand a better chance of getting the right treatment, at the right time.”
In other recommendations, NICE has also advised regular screening for individuals with ≥2 close relatives with a history of pancreatic cancer or Lynch syndrome. The guidance also recommends increased support to manage the psychological burden of cancer on patients, including anxiety and depression.