Pancreatic cancer remains one of the big killers of oncology, with growing numbers: new cases in Italy rose from 12,500 in 2015 to 14,300 in 2020, mostly men between 65 and 69 years old and women between 75 and 79. Cancer currently ranks 4th for mortality and it is estimated that it could become the 2nd cause of death within the next decade in Western countries. Announced on the eve of the world day dedicated to this tumor, these are the data reported by the experts of the Irccs Istituto Clinico Humanitas of Rozzano who for the day have created a video that tells the hunt for the big killer of oncology.
We need to work to make early diagnosis and more effective therapies, as well as to raise awareness of prevention among the population, adopting correct lifestyles from a healthy diet to stopping smoking.
“The treatment of this neoplasm is made more difficult – explains Alessandro Zerbi, head of Pancreatic Surgery at the Irccs – there is also the anatomical position of the pancreas, the poor responsiveness to treatments (chemotherapy, surgery, if possible, and possible radiotherapy) and the often late diagnosis, which precludes the possibility of intervention, except in about 20-30% of cases”. It is to improve the surgical approach that, thanks to the support of the Humanitas Foundation for Research and the collaboration between Humanitas University, Irccs and the Milan Polytechnic, a laboratory was set up to study the organ in depth and create an artificial pancreas (“phantom “), both for the training of surgeons and postgraduates, and to identify specific tools for pancreatic surgery, such as ad hoc glues and sutures.
Another promising approach is to deploy Artificial Intelligence to predict each patient’s post-operative complications based on clinical data and pre-surgery imaging tests, such as computed tomography: “Our goal is to develop a pre-operative prediction higher than the current one, in order to be able to evaluate, for the individual patient, the probability of the appearance of complications and their severity, and to implement measures to limit them”, explains Giovanni Capretti, researcher and specialized general surgeon in pancreatic-duodenal pathology at the Irccs.
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