Harvard Health Letter

Pancreatic cancer: An update on a 'stealth' cancer

Treatment advances have been slow in coming. What makes this cancer so intractable?

There's been a steady stream of good news about cancer lately, from targeted therapies like Gleevec to new strategies like anti-angiogenesis, which zeroes in on the proliferating blood vessels that feed tumors. Some cancers — for example, Hodgkin's disease, a type of lymph cancer — are increasingly treatable. The number of Americans dying from breast and colon cancer is decreasing.

But good news about pancreatic cancer is harder to come by. Doctors haven't yet discovered how to detect it early. Treatment has progressed some, but there's been nothing close to a breakthrough.

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