A new approach to treat pancreatic cancer at Mayo Clinic defies the odds.
Some patients who have had less than two years to live are now five years old or older.
Dr. Mark Truty explains that the solution is to give patients personalized chemotherapy to remove pancreatic tumors, then use PET to make sure the tumor is destroyed before removing it surgically.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 56,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States this year.
It is often said to one-third of these patients that their cancer is inoperable because even though the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body, the tumor has developed into veins and critical arteries surrounding the pancreas.
Mayo Clinic doctors say it is these patients who could benefit.
"It's all about timing," says Dr. Truty. "Gather things, know when to stop chemotherapy, move on to the next step."
The strategy could soon be used in the country's cancer centers.