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A New Shift in Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
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The study discusses how the treatment of operable pancreatic cancer is evolving. Traditionally, the first step has been surgery to remove the tumor, followed by chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells. However, recent trends indicate a move towards administering chemotherapy before surgery, a technique known as neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

The study aims to map out how this change is taking place across the United States by looking at patterns of treatment from 2006 to 2019.


Researchers took a snapshot, cross-sectional approach over a period of time, using the National Cancer Database. They focused on patients who had surgery for stage I-II pancreatic adenocarcinoma, which is a specific type of pancreatic cancer.


  1. Chemotherapy Before Surgery (Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy):

    • In 2019, 43% of patients received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, a significant increase from only 11% in 2006.
  2. Surgery Followed by Chemotherapy (Adjuvant Chemotherapy):

    • This approach decreased from 48% in 2006 to 38% in 2019.
  3. Surgery Alone:

    • This method dropped significantly, from 41% in 2006 to 19% in 2019.
  4. Radiation Therapy:

    • The use of radiation also decreased over the period studied.
  5. Resection Rate:

    • This is the rate at which the tumor is surgically removed. It also saw a decline over the years.
  6. Survival Rate:

    • Notably, the median overall survival rate has improved over the years, which is encouraging.


The data indicate that by 2019, neoadjuvant chemotherapy had overtaken the traditional approach of surgery first, followed by adjuvant chemotherapy. This is a landmark change in how pancreatic cancer is being treated across the nation.

What Does This Mean for You?

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it’s crucial to note that treatment approaches are evolving, and survival rates are improving. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is increasingly becoming the norm, and your healthcare team might recommend this course of action. Always consult with your medical professionals for treatment tailored to your specific condition.

The Bigger Picture:

This shift in treatment represents not just a change in medical protocol but reflects broader developments in our understanding of cancer biology and treatment efficacy. The results suggest that healthcare providers are adopting more flexible and potentially more effective strategies in combating pancreatic cancer.

In summary, this study tells us that the landscape of pancreatic cancer treatment is changing—moving steadily towards an approach that administers chemotherapy before surgery. This change seems to be paralleled by improved survival rates, offering a glimmer of hope in the fight against this devastating disease.

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