Pancreatic Cancer (cont.)
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The promise of cancer research
Laboratory scientists are studying the pancreas to learn more about it. They are studying the possible causes of pancreatic cancer and are researching new ways to detect tumors. They also are looking for new therapies that may kill cancer cells.
Doctors in clinics and hospitals are conducting many types of clinical trials. These are research studies in which people take part voluntarily. In these trials, researchers are studying ways to treat pancreatic cancer. Research already has led to advances in treatment methods, and researchers continue to search for more effective approaches to treat this disease.
Patients who join clinical trials have the first chance to benefit from new treatments that have shown promise in earlier research. They also make an important contribution to medical science by helping doctors learn more about the disease. Although clinical trials may pose some risks, researchers take very careful steps to protect their patients.
In trials with people who have pancreatic cancer, doctors are studying new drugs, new combinations of chemotherapy, and combinations of chemotherapy and radiation before and after surgery.
Biological therapy is also under investigation. Scientists are studying several cancer vaccines to help the immune system fight cancer. Other studies use monoclonal antibodies to slow or stop the growth of cancer.
Patients who are interested in joining a clinical study should talk with their doctor. They may want to read Taking Part in Clinical Trials: What Cancer Patients Need To Know. This NCI booklet describes how research studies work and explains their possible benefits and risks. NCI's Web site at http://www.cancer.gov on the Internet provides general information about clinical trials. It also offers detailed information about specific ongoing studies of pancreatic cancer by linking to PDQ®, NCI's cancer information database. The Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER can answer questions about cancer clinical trials and can provide information from the PDQ database.
National Cancer Institute information resources
You may want more information for yourself, your family, and your doctor. The following National Cancer Institute (NCI) services are available to help you.
Cancer Information Service (CIS)
Toll-free: 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)
SOURCE: National Cancer Institute, U.S. National Institute of Health, www.cancer.gov
Last Editorial Review: 8/15/2008