Early-Detection Blood Tests for Pancreatic Cancer
According to the
Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect early and to treat in later stages, which is why the death rate is disproportionate. The new blood tests aim to solve the problem.
People with certain genetic defects or a family history of Pancreatic Cancer can only be tested for blood cancer in the past. New screening tests for the general public are currently being developed.
We take a look at all the early detection blood tests that are currently available as well as the ones that could become available in the future.
There are currently two blood tests available that might be able to detect pancreatic cancer earlier than current diagnostic testing and before any symptoms develop:
- The test is called the Galleri.
- The test is called the PanCan-D.
“Insurance plans don’t cover the tests at a cost of around $1,000. They are not approved by the FDA.”
The tests are for people who are at high risk for the disease.
The GRAIL’s GalleriTM test
The test is called the Galleri. looks for the presence of over 50 types of cancer. This includes two different types of pancreatic cancer, pancreatic adenocarcinoma, and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. The test is designed for people who have a high risk of cancer, such as people with certain genetic abnormalities or people with a family history of cancer.
The test is called the Galleri. is a blood test. You’ll need a doctor’s order to take the test. Once you have a doctor’s order, a blood test kit can be mailed to your home or your doctor’s office. You’ll then have blood drawn, and the results will be available in about 2 weeks.
“The test can’t diagnose cancer. They can show the presence of cancer in your body. If your results are positive, you can take additional steps.”
The Immunovia Inc. IMMray PanCan-d test
The PanCan-d test is the only one that can detect Pancreatic Cancer. It is only available to people who are considered to be at high risk for the disease, such as people with a family history of the disease or people with certain genetic abnormality.
The test looks for markers in your blood that can indicate cancer and also markers in your immune system that are fighting cancer.
“You will need a doctor’s order to take the test. A sample of your blood will be taken and analyzed. Results will be available in a week.”
“Positive, negative, or borderline results can be found. Pancreatic cancer results aren’t enough to confirm a diagnosis If your results show the presence of Pancreatic Cancer biomarkers, you will need to take additional steps with your medical team.”
Pancreatic cancer can be found early. Researchers are working to develop screening tests that can detect cancer early.
There are examples of tests in development.
- At Lund University, in Lund, Sweden, researchers have developed a test that measures antibody fragments associated with pancreatic cancer. During its initial trial phase, the Lund University test had a 96% accuracy rate.
- At The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Health Moore Cancer Center, San Diego, California, researchers have successfully found pancreatic cancer using a test that analyzes an output of cells called extracellular vesicles. Extracellular vesicles contain proteins that can also be found in tumors. In trials,
The UCSD Health testwas able to predict how likely it is that these proteins will become cancerous.
Jack Andraka, a high school student, won the grand prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in 2012 for his work on a method of detecting the early stages of Pancreatic Cancer.
The test method used was based on the levels of a cancer biomarker called mesothelin. The test was said to be fast and cheap.
“Jack Andraka’s work hasn’t been published in any peer-reviewed scientific journals despite it receiving international attention. The initial results have not been duplicated by further studies. The test strips are not currently in development.”
“Blood tests can show the presence of cancer, but they aren’t enough to diagnose. There are still more tests needed to confirm the diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer. These might include:”
- A CT Scan: For a CT scan, you’ll have a contrast dye injected before images are taken. The scan then creates detailed images of your pancreas. It can help doctors see the size and location of your tumor.
- A positron emission tomography (PET) scan: A PET scan uses a sugar substance instead of a contrast dye. Cancer cells absorb more sugar than healthy cells, and will appear brighter on the PET scan as a result. PET scans are often used to see if cancer has spread.
- An endoscopic ultrasound (EUS): An EUS uses a tool called an endoscope to insert a tiny ultrasound probe into the pancreas so detailed images can be collected. The probe reaches the pancreas via a tube guided down the throat. IV sedation is used for the procedure.
- A magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP): An MRCP is a specialized type of MRI that creates images of your pancreas and bile ducts.
- A percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC): During a PTC, a thin and hollow needle is used to inject contrast dye into your liver. An X-ray of your bile and pancreatic ducts is taken.
- Liver function testing: Liver function testing is a blood test that measures the levels of chemicals produced by your liver. Pancreatic cancer causes similar symptoms to some liver diseases, and liver function testing can help rule out those conditions.
- A biopsy: A biopsy is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. During a biopsy, a sample of pancreatic tissue is removed and analyzed for cancer cells. A pancreas biopsy is often done at the same time as an EUS.
- Molecular testing: Molecular testing provides a detailed analysis of tissue and cell samples. The testing looks for certain gene mutations and proteins and can help your doctors plan your treatment.
If you have a number of known risk factors for Pancreatic Cancer, you are considered a high risk.
People at high risk for cancer are candidates for screening. A doctor can watch you for signs of cancer in a program called a surveille program. People who are in programs that monitor the population are more likely to be eligible for blood tests.
There are risk factors for Pancreatic Cancer.
- a family history of pancreatic cancer: Your risk of pancreatic cancer is higher if you have a parent, sibling, or child who had pancreatic cancer.
- inherited gene mutations: Genetic syndromes that run in families account for about 10% of all pancreatic cancers. Genetic syndromes associated with pancreatic cancer include hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome, hereditary breast cancer, familial atypical multiple mole melanoma, familial pancreatitis, Lynch syndrome, and Peutz-Jeghers syndrome.
- smoking: Smoking is associated with a doubled risk of pancreatic cancer.
- weight: Obesity raises your risk for pancreatic cancer by about 20%.
- age: People of any age can get pancreatic cancer, but the risk goes up as you age. Most people with pancreatic cancer are over 65 at the time of diagnosis.
- diabetes: Type 2 diabetes is associated with a higher risk of diabetes. There is no clear link between type 1 diabetes and pancreatic cancer.
- chronic pancreatitis: Chronic pancreatitis is a condition that occurs when your pancreas is inflamed. It can be inherited, or caused by lifestyle factors such as heavy alcohol use and smoking. No matter the cause, it is associated with a higher risk of pancreatic cancer.
- workplace exposure to chemicals: Exposure to some chemicals used in the metalworking and dry cleaning industries is linked to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.
- gender: Rates of pancreatic cancer are slightly higher in men. This might be partially due to men being more likely to have other risk factors, such as smoking and workplace exposure to chemicals.
- race: In the United States, pancreatic cancer is more common among Black Americans than white Americans. This might be partially due to higher rates of other risk factors — such as smoking and diabetes — among Black Americans.
There is a link between factors and cancer.
- eating red meat
- Eating foods with high saturated fat.
- consuming drinks.
- drinking alcohol.
- Physical activity.
- Coffee is being drank
- stomach infections
More research is needed after not all studies have confirmed the risk factors.
“The early stages of Pancreatic Cancer don’t cause symptoms. It is easy to mistake the symptoms of another, less serious, condition for those of another, more serious, condition.”
If you experience any symptoms of pancreatic cancer for more than a week or two, it’s important to see a doctor. Early symptoms of pancreatic cancer can include:
- yellow eyes and skin (jaundice), which may be harder to detect on darker skin tones
- brown or dark urine
- Light colored stools.
- greasy stools
- stomach ache
- Back pain.
- itchy skin
- reduced appetite.
- It is possible to lose weight unintentionally.
- The gallbladder is swelling.
- There is swelling of the liver.
- There are blood clot.
- Changes in blood sugar levels can be seen.
Most of the symptoms are caused by other conditions. It is still important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Pancreatic cancer treatment options and outcomes can be changed by early detection.
Can people in their 20s get pancreatic cancer?
As you age, your risk for Pancreatic Cancer increases. People of any age can be diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.
Is it hard to catch pancreatic cancer early?
“It is difficult to diagnose Pancreatic Cancer early. Pancreatic cancer is rare and people without an elevated risk for the disease aren’t typically screened for it.”
Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer are usually not found until it is found during testing for another, unrelated, condition. As more tests are developed, this could change and screening for Pancreatic Cancer could become standard.
How is pancreatic cancer treated?
When a person is diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, they are treated based on their stage and overall health. Treatment options include:
- surgery: Surgery to completely remove the tumor is the primary treatment option. However, it’s not always possible if the tumor has spread. Completely removing the tumor is the only cure for pancreatic cancer.
- chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is used to kill cancer cells. It might be done before surgery to help shrink the tumor, after surgery to help keep the cancer from returning, or in place of surgery in the case of inoperable tumors.
- Radiation: Like chemotherapy, radiation kills cancer cells. It can shrink tumors and can help prevent them from regrowing.
- Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy helps your body fight cancer cells. It can be used when pancreatic cancer is widespread or if it reoccurs.
What’s the outlook for pancreatic cancer?
The outlook for pancreatic cancer depends on factors such as the stage at diagnosis, how well you respond to treatment, and your overall health.
As of 2018, the overall 5-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer was
The number of people diagnosed with cancer is based on the number of years. It is likely that current survival rates are higher than in the past due to the advances in cancer treatment.
Pancreatic cancer is the most common type of cancer.
There are two blood tests that can help people at high risk for cancer detect it earlier than standard diagnostic tools. These tests are not covered by insurance plans or FDA-approved, but they can be used for high-risk people.
There are more tests in development. A Pancreatic Cancer diagnosis can only be confirmed with a Pancreatic Cancer diagnosis.