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August 22/29, 2001

Is Pancreatic Cancer a Preventable Disease?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University Medical School, and The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chicago, Ill.

JAMA. 2001;286(8):967-968. doi:10.1001/jama.286.8.967

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most formidable types of cancer a patient and his/her physician must face. These cancers are difficult to treat due to their inaccessible location, proximity to other vital organs, and inherently aggressive pattern of growth. Although advances in surgical techniques, radiation, and chemotherapy have provided incremental improvements in the length and quality of life, less than 5% of patients with pancreatic cancer will live beyond 5 years.1 Therefore, it is both surprising and gratifying that pancreatic cancer should be emerging as a form of cancer that might be preventable, at least in part through modification of lifestyle habits such as diet, exercise, and smoking.

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