Pancreatic Cancer ‘Grows For Decades’ Before Illness Shows

Pancreatic Cancer has long known to be the ‘Silent Killer’ and now there is even more evidence of this according to recent research. Scientists have found that pancreatic cancer could grow for decades, lurking undiagnosed before the sufferer displayed any symptoms at all of the disease.

pancreatic cancerThis kind of cancer, which is fatal in 95% of cases, was studied by researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Johns Hopkins University, by conducting genetic analysis of the tumors.

It was found that the first mutations could occur as early as 20 years before they became lethal.  Researchers found pancreatic tumors to be slow growing and at a steady rate. Researchers were therefore able to gauge how long the cancer had been developing.

This is one of the few cancers that have seen no improvement in patient’s survival rates in the past 4 decades. The cancer is lethal because it is often very aggressive. Also by the time that it is diagnosed, it may have progressed so much that it does not respond to treatment.

Researchers found that on an average it took 11.7 years for a single pancreatic cell gene mutation to become a pancreatic tumor that could be classified as ‘mature’.