A simple test could help GPs to detect pancreatic cancer earlier. A research team from the University of Nottingham and ClinRisk Ltd, led by Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox, have developed a simple online calculator that could help family GPs to detect pancreatic cancer earlier and so offer many more patients the chance of surgery, which is the most effective current treatment.
The research, which will be published in the January edition of the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP) online on 24 December, used a combination of known risk factors such as age, chronic pancreatitis, smoking and diabetes and symptoms such as weight loss, appetite loss, and abdominal pain to develop the tool, which in the research was able to predict 62 per cent of all pancreatic cancers diagnosed over the following two years which were in the top 10 per cent of patients predicted to be most at risk.
Alex Ford, Chief Executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK said: "This research is a major step forward in helping GPs with the difficult job of detecting pancreatic cancer early enough to offer more patients the chance of potentially curative treatment. We hope that the tool will be further developed for routine use by GPs as soon as possible and assessed in for its impact in increasing rates of detection and curative treatment, particularly surgery".