Nov 1, 2010 12:18 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5
Pancreatic cancer is thought to be a fast-moving, lethal cancer. But a new study suggests the tumors may be present for years, even decades, before symptoms appear.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University studied gene mutations in the bodies of seven people who had died from pancreatic cancer. They found a majority of tumors took twenty years to become deadly. On average it took eleven years for the tumor to mature, another six years to send cancer cells to other organs, and an additional three years before the patient died.
Researchers say this could lead to a screening test that picks up on the genetic mutations, and provides an early warning to patients.