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Published on : Aug 02, 2017

Doctors at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust conducted a pilot scheme that showed quick access to surgery for those in the early stages of pancreatic cancer, upped success rate by a third. The trial, in which 31 cancer afflicted people had their tumors removed, helped bringing down of average surgery time from two months to slightly over two weeks. It will, however, take surgeons another two years before they learn if operating earlier extends life.

Around 9,600 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK every year, of whom less than 7% make it beyond five years. Till date, little progress has been made in treating the deadly malady.

At present, just 8% of pancreatic cancer patients in the U.K. have their tumors removed successfully via surgery, as most are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when surgery cannot help anymore. The success of the surgery, is again contingent upon how speedily it is carried out.

Doctors Work with Hospitals to Speed up Processes

In the trial carried out in Birmingham, doctors worked with hospitals to expedite the surgery process by increasing the speed for referral and rearranging the manner in which surgery was being conducted.

A treatment usually given to jaundiced patients prior to surgery to lessen the risk of post-operative complications was also done away with. It involved inserting a stent into the bile duct to get rid of symptoms.

Bringing down the time to surgery resulted in 31 out of 32 patients, who were eligible for surgery, being successfully treated. In absolute percentage terms, success rate increased to 97% success rate, from the present average of 75%.

Another reason to rejoice: Complications and hospital readmissions post-surgery also lessened.