Government advisory board recommends against screening for pancreatic cancer

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Screening symptom-free adults for pancreatic cancer doesn't appear to reduce deaths from the disease, according to a new analysis by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). The group advises against recommending screening in this group.

Pancreatic cancer is relatively uncommon, but the prognosis for people who get it is often poor, because it is frequently found at an advanced stage. This has made it the third most common cause of deaths from cancer in the United States. It was hoped that screening for the disease would enable doctors to spot cases earlier, when they might be easier to treat. However, the USPSTF reviewed findings on pancreatic cancer screening in people without symptoms and determined that there is no evidence that screening in this group — or treating cases of pancreatic cancer found on screening tests — reduces deaths from the disease. The task force concluded that the benefits of screening do not outweigh the potential harms.

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