Cancer of the pancreas is the number five in the list of deaths due to cancers in Spain and the third causing deaths due to digestive tumour.
Moreover, the survival rate for patients with which it is possible to carry out a complete resection of the tumour does not reach 25% within five years. This is because, although good localised control, metastasis occurs, the principal cause of death in cancer of the pancreas.
Over the last few years the approach to this disease has improved considerably thanks to developments in ecoendoscopy. This involves a technique which gives importance to the diagnosis and treatmeant of the pancreatic pathology. Nevertheless, for the moment, the technique has not been introduced into hospitals in Spain in a general manner. The University Hospital of Navarra is one of the few centres that provide this service.
Ecoendoscopy, on the one hand, characterises the morphology and the type of tumour with precision. Moreover, it is particularly efficacious for carrying out precise locoregional stratification, thus enabling the selection of the most suitable treatment for each case and rescue patients that, with other image-generating methods, were referred for palliative treatments.
Also, from a therapeutic perspective, ecoendoscopy is becoming increasingly important, playing an important role in the treatment of pain arising pancreatic pathology and it is currently being used in novel therapies such as genic therapy.
Revision date: July 5, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD