Researchers have made significant progress in understanding the biology of pancreatic tumors, suggesting that there may be ways of identifying the usually fatal cancer at a much earlier and more treatable stage.
A principal finding is that pancreatic tumors are not aggressive cancers. To the contrary, they grow slowly, taking an average of 21 years to become fatal. This creates an opportunity for detecting and removing the cancers at an early stage. At present they are diagnosed far too late, when a patient has on average only two more years to live and the cancer has already spread from the pancreas to other tissues.