PET-CT scans for pancreatic cancer patients eliminates additional surgery

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A recent guideline from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the United Kingdom recommends PET-CT scans should be used to more quickly and accurately diagnosis and manage pancreatic cancer, resulting in a 20 percent reduction in surgery to remove the cancer.  

According to a NICE press release, this recommendation will ultimately mean that pancreatic cancer patients whose cancer has spread and is "inoperable" will not need to undergo additional surgery. Additionally, this will also limit the damaging side effects of chemotherapy many pancreatic patients endure for treatment.

"The PET-CT scan could have a significant impact on the treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer," said Mark Baker, director of the center for guidelines at NICE. "It will mean that the staging process is more effective so that patients stand a better chance of getting the right treatment, at the right time."

According to NICE, pancreatic cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in the U.K., with more than 9,500 cases diagnosed every year.