NICE recommends early PET-CT scans for people with pancreatic cancer

NICE publishes new guidance for the management of pancreatic cancer in adults

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Early scans should be offered to patients with pancreatic cancer to improve management of the disease and avoid unnecessary surgery, according to new guidance.

The recommendation from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is part of new guidance which covers the diagnosis and management of pancreatic cancer in adults.

NICE estimates that using the PET-CT scan in the diagnosis and staging of pancreatic cancer will result in a 20% reduction in operations.

Avoiding inappropriate surgery

It also claims that early scans will reduce the effect on patients and the NHS of inappropriate, expensive surgery and will also allow earlier access to chemotherapy.

Patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer have an average life expectancy of between four and six months.

The NICE guidelines aim to improve care by ‘ensuring quicker and more accurate diagnosis, and by specifying the most effective treatments for people depending on how advanced their cancer is’.

The guidelines also cover psychological support, pain and nutritional management.

NICE centre for guidelines director Mark Baker said: ‘The PET-CT scan could have a significant impact on the treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer. It will mean that the staging process is more effective so that patients stand a better chance of getting the right treatment, at the right time.’

Find out more

NICE guidance: pancreatic cancer in adults: diagnosis and management

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