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Books, Journals, New Media
April 9, 2003


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(14):1862-1863. doi:10.1001/jama.289.14.1862

As anyone who has ever been on a surgical rotation will recall, one of the most solemn codas to advice given students and resident surgeons is the ominous warning "and don't ever mess with the pancreas." We no longer consider mere visualization of the pancreas a certain bad omen for patient outcome. However, respect for the seriousness of diseases associated with the pancreas is still merited. While we have learned much about such diseases as pancreatic insufficiency, pancreas divisum, and gallstone pancreatitis, to name a few, we remain in the dark about the optimal approach to pancreatic cancer and even the nature of its origin. This focused narrative about the pancreas provides an excellent context in which to examine the great distance covered by medicine in recent centuries.