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December 12, 1977

Ultrasonic Sounds and Pancreatic Carcinoma

JAMA. 1977;238(24):2598-2599. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280250024008

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To the Editor. —  I am writing in response to the article "Pancreatic Carcinoma: Survival Following Detection by Ultrasonic Scanning" (238:240, 1977). While I agree with the statement that ultrasound is not as sensitive as one would like in detecting pancreatic neoplasm, evidence would suggest that it is probably still the most sensitive diagnostic modality available at this date. This is particularly important since it is relatively inexpensive and noninvasive. Computerized tomographic scanning may well prove more sensitive, but this has not been proved as yet.The implication in the article is that diagnostic ultrasound probably is not worthwhile in attempting to diagnose pancreatic neoplasm since the patient's survival after detection is unaltered. I feel this is an unfair condemnation of diagnostic ultrasound. It appears in this article that all patients were treated only with surgery. There is increasing evidence that aggressive chemotherapeutic regimens increase survival in pancreatic carcinoma. I