Clinical Implications of Pancreatic Cancer
The dismal prognosis of patients with pancreatic cancer (PC) results from the combination of the aggressive biology of the disease along with the advanced stage at the time of diagnosis. Only 20% of patients with PC have a potentially resectable tumor at presentation. Delays in diagnosis are mainly due to subtle and nonspecific symptoms. Currently, the only potentially curative therapy for PC is surgical resection with an overall 5-year survival at 15–27%. Thus, timely detection of the disease can enable patients to undergo surgical resection with negative margin (R0) and maximize survival benefit. Patients who undergo incomplete resection have similar survival rates to those patients with metastatic disease and should be spared from an unnecessary surgery, as they will not have any benefit from surgical resection.
Therefore, accurate preoperative staging is of paramount importance, and cross-sectional imaging plays an essential role in both the diagnosis and appropriate staging of PC. Preoperative imaging in patients with PC is used to characterize patients as having resectable disease, borderline resectable disease, locally advanced disease (unresectable), and metastatic disease (unresectable).
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