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Dr. Bekaii-Saab Discusses the Evolution of Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer

Tanios Bekaii-Saab, MD, professor of medicine, Mayo Clinic, discusses the evolution of treatment for patients with pancreatic cancer.

Tanios Bekaii-Saab, MD, professor of medicine, Mayo Clinic, discusses the evolution of treatment for patients with pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is poised to become the second deadliest cancer in the United States, Bekaii-Saab says. There is an urgency to find new treatments to slow this increase in incidence. Bekaii-Saab says that over the past few years, there has been a fair effort to extend survival for these patients, with 50% crossing the 1-year mark and 25% crossing the 2-year mark. There are currently patients who are still alive after 4 or 5 years, but it is only about 5% of all patients with pancreatic cancer.

Bekaii-Saab says that the field is on the right path, but it is a step-by-step process. Ultimately, investigators want to bring pancreatic cancer into the mainstream where a lot of advancements are taking place. The key in treating pancreatic cancer is having a strategy, Bekaii-Saab says, and physicians need to put aside the nihilist attitude toward pancreatic cancer and treat their patients’ disease. Like other cancers with better cure rates, Bekaii-Saab says that there needs to be more thought put into sequencing therapies for these patients.

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