In the early 1980s, there was a common belief amongst physicians that treating pancreatic cancer was a waste of time. However, with improved treatment methods, findings show that cancer survival rates have increased in the past few decades. A new drug regime that combines two drugs can now double the chances of survival for victims of pancreatic cancer who have chosen to have a tumor surgically removed.
Here are more details about this new drug regime available through the NHS.
New Cancer Study
The latest Cancer Research UK figures show that nearly 9,400 people have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year in the UK and around 8,800 people are unable to fight the disease.Although treatment of pancreatic cancer is difficult, finding of drugs that will shrink the tumor enough to make it suitable for surgery will help in the fight against this disease.
Cancer Research UK’s findings on the new treatment were presented in Chicago at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference. The study was based on 732 cancer patients who had surgery for the removal of a tumor. It was split into two equal numbers of subjects. One group consisted of participants who used the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine (Gemzar), which is a typical solution for pancreatic cancer. The other group took a combination of gemcitabine and capecitabine (Xeloda).
Ultimately, 85% of the subjects given both treatments survived after one year, which is very unusual for pancreatic cancer patients, according to trial conductor and University of Liverpool professor, John Neoptolemos. The educator recommends patients to be switched to this new regime.
Therefore early diagnosis ensures better survival rates. Cancer survival has almost doubled in the last 30 years and around half of patients are now surviving cancer for more than 10 years.
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