The Royal Free Hospital at London, made a breakthrough in the treatment of pancreatic cancer by the successful surgery performed on a female patient. The maiden attempt gives hope to those pancreatic cancer patients with advanced tumors that have spread to the portal vein.
At present, pancreatic cancer does not have any effective treatment methods and those who suffer from it are assured only six months to live. The fact that the patients till the advanced stage of this disease display no apparent symptoms make the early diagnosis very difficult. This in turn cut down the chances of survival of the pancreatic cancer patients.
The new procedure involves the surgical removal of tumour together with a segment of the portal vein and replacing it with part of the jugular vein.
Surgeon Kito Fusai, who successfully carried out the surgery with his colleague Dinesh Sharma described the technique as exciting.
"If discovered early, before it has spread to other major organs such as the liver or lungs, the cancer may be treatable. However, currently only a small proportion of patients - around 10% - are suitable for surgery. The only treatment for the vast majority of patients is chemotherapy or palliative treatment. This technique is exciting as it enables us to offer a whole new group of patients the opportunity for surgery. We expect it will double the number of patients each year - potentially saving many hundreds more lives," He said.