Pancreatic Cancer Screening Trial
Why screen for pancreatic cancer?
Early detection and treatment of pancreatic cancer can significantly improve the outcome. However, due to the relatively low incidence of pancreas cancer, population-based screening is not considered a feasible option. Therefore it is important to define who may benefit from regular surveillance for pancreatic cancer. A number of international screening programs are targeting high-risk individuals, and are working together to establish evidence-based recommendations.
Pancreatic cancer screening in Australia
A five-year pancreatic cancer screening trial commenced at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, in 2011. The study has recently expanded to Austin Health in Melbourne, which is now recruiting. The specialist gastroenterologists use endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), a combination of endoscopy and ultrasound, to closely assess the pancreas. The aim of the trial is to determine how effectively EUS detects premalignant lesions and early pancreatic cancers in high risk individuals.
Who is eligible for screening?
"High-risk" refers to unaffected individuals who have a greater than 5% life-time risk of developing pancreatic cancer. The lifetime risk in the general Australian population is approximately 1.5%. Family history and genetic results are the main predictors used to assess risk.
You may be eligible for the screening study if you are 50-80yrs of age and fit into either of the criteria below:
- People with two close relatives affected by pancreatic cancer on the same side (e.g. a parent and a sibling)
- People with three or more relatives affected by pancreatic cancer on the same side, and a first-degree relationship with at least one affected relative
- People who are known carriers of the BRCA2 gene and have a first-degree relative with pancreatic cancer
- People with Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome
- People with Hereditary Pancreatitis
How do I become involved?
If you are unsure about your eligibility, complete the online form with a few details about yourself and your family history, and the study coordinator will contact you. Alternatively, NSW applicants can email firstname.lastname@example.org and VIC applicants can email email@example.com. Participation in the screening trial requires a referral from your doctor, which you can download
What does the study involve?
The main components of the study include:
- Signed consent and completion of a questionnaire on personal health and family history
- Attending a genetic counselling session at a local Family Cancer Clinic
- Endoscopic ultrasounds, at intervals recommended by the study gastroenterologist
- Brief follow up questionnaires at one month, one year and five year intervals following your first EUS
You will be guided through the process by the site clinical coordinator, who will assist with any questions or concerns along the way.
- Canto, MI et al. International Cancer of the Pancreas Screening (CAPS) Consortium. Gut, 62; 339-347 (2013)
- CAPS website
- NSW Screening Brochure
- VIC Screening Brochure