Combination drug significantly increases survival for patients who undergo surgery

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A report published in The Lancet this week has confirmed that a patient, who is diagnosed in time for surgery, and is treated with a combination of two chemotherapy drugs (capecitabine and gemcitabine), will have a 29% chance of surviving beyond five years.  This compares to just a 16% chance of surviving beyond five years if a patient has just surgery alone.  

The study was carried out on 732 patients from 92 hospitals across Europe. Taken together the two drugs increased median survival from 25 and a half months to 28 months.

At the moment, the NICE guidelines for adjuvant (after surgery) pancreatic cancer treatment only recommends gemcitabine.

Ali Stunt, chief executive and pancreatic cancer survivor said:  “NICE should now update its guidelines for adjuvant pancreatic cancer treatment to include GemCap instead of gemcitabine alone.”

Unfortunately, only 20% of pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed in time for surgery, which means that the majority of patients would not be able to access it.

“While this is fantastic news for those diagnosed early, we still need to get more patients diagnosed in time for surgery.

“Currently, eight out of ten people are diagnosed too late surgery. Improving early diagnosis remains a priority for us at Pancreatic Cancer Action. ”