This disease is a strong predictor of pancreatic cancer

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Scientists from Boston Medical Center found that people with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) were six times more likely to have had gallstone disease within the year prior to diagnosis.

This suggests gallstones could be a warning sign for this aggressive and deadly cancer.

The research was presented at Digestive Disease Week 2022 and was conducted by Marianna Papageorge et al.

PDAC is the most common pancreatic cancer, accounting for more than 90% of cases, and it is often fatal because it tends to be diagnosed in late stages.

Gallstone is a hardened deposit within the fluid in the gallbladder, a small organ under the liver.

Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid. Gallstones can vary in size and number and may or may not cause symptoms.

In the study, the team examined 18,700 PDAC patients and compared them to an average of 99,287 patients.

In the year before diagnosis, they found that 4.7 percent of the PDAC patients had a diagnosis of gallstone disease and 1.6 percent had their gallbladders removed.

Among the non-cancer patients, only 0.8 percent had gallstones and only 0.3 percent had their gallbladders removed.

The team says gallstone disease does not cause pancreatic cancer but understanding its association with PDAC can help combat the high mortality rate with pancreatic cancer by providing the opportunity for earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Pancreatic cancer can be difficult to diagnose and the chances of survival are slim.

The new findings suggest that gallstone disease may be a way to better diagnose this type of cancer—meaning we could save more lives.

Since many people have gallstones but do not develop pancreatic cancer, future research could look more closely at laboratory findings and imaging to see if there are specific factors related to gallbladder disease that could further distinguish which patients might have or develop pancreatic cancer.

If you care about cancer prevention, please read studies about new vaccine to prevent pancreatic cancer, many existing drugs can kill cancer.

For more information about cancer risk, please see recent studies about drug that can strengthen immune system to fight cancer, and results showing Aspirin may boost survival in these two cancers.

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