NSP provides fresh hope for cancer patients
Nov 17, 2016
Steve Jobs. Luciano Pavarotti. Patrick Swayze.
Just like these celebrities, thousands of Australians are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours every year.
But with long-term survival for pancreatic cancer at around 5% for the past 40 years, the future has been dire.
The good news though is that new treatments are expected to significantly improve survival rates in the next five to 10 years – and North Shore Private is at the forefront.
“This is one of the fastest changing fields in surgery and currently there as a new paradigm shift in the way we are treating these cancers,” says North Shore Private Pancreatic Surgeon Professor Jas Samra, on the eve of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day November 17.
Dr Samra said that currently North Shore Private Hospital and Royal North Shore performed the highest volume of pancreatic cancer resections in NSW – with the hospitals working together to attack the lethal disease with a “multi-disciplinary approach.”
“This includes surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists, pathologists, research scientists, intensive care specialist, nurses and dietitians.”
He said that even when the disease was early stage and localised, long term survival for pancreatic cancer, until very recently, was only about 10 to 17 per cent.
“But recent studies as published in the Lancet have shown that when patients were treated with this multi-disciplinary, multi-modal approach five year survival can be as high as 42 per cent.”
He said a range of new chemotherapy drugs (Abraxane, Capecitabine, S1) were also being used more to treat microscopic disease, while new therapeutic drugs which use the immune system to fight the cancer were also in the pipeline.
“The delivery of these drugs before surgery is radically changing the landscape of survival in both resectable and non-resectable cancers.”
Click here for patient Grant’s Mundell’s remarkable story. Grant had his pancreas, spleen, parts of his liver, half of his stomach and an adrenal gland removed in 2014 and is back to full time work.