Linda was diagnosed with a pancreatic cyst. Her consultant gastroenterologist, Dr. Stephen Pereira, performed a Cellvizio Optical Biopsy procedure and was able to rule out cancer immediately afterwards.
“It felt like my life was on hold,” says Linda Bartlett, a 41-year-old mother of two who found out she had a cyst on her pancreas in March 2014.
Linda lives in a town called Hertford in southern England where she cares for the elderly and spends her free time gardening and cross stitching. When she began to experience abdominal discomfort that led to trouble eating and weight loss, Linda went to her doctor.
At first she thought she might be dealing with inflammatory bowel disease, but a CT scan revealed a mass on her pancreas. A subsequent MRI confirmed it was a cyst. The next step would be to determine whether it was cancerous.
“I was shocked because I thought it was cancer,” recalls Linda. “My family has a history with cancer issues. My mother is prone to cysts and my husband has had cancer. It was a stressful time.”
Linda was referred to Dr. Stephen Pereira, a consultant gastroenterologist and hepatologist at University College London. Dr. Pereira is one of the first in the UK to use endomicroscopy with Cellvizio to examine pancreatic cysts and offered Linda an opportunity to participate in a clinical study.
“The ability to rapidly and accurately diagnose pancreatic cysts is important because it reduces wait time for the patient and allows doctors to make diagnoses with more confidence,” says Dr. Pereira. “Microscopic imaging with Cellvizio during standard endoscopies allows us to see and assess individual cells in real-time, like an optical biopsy.”
Linda had no prior experience with endoscopies but was willing to participate in the study.
A benign pancreatic cyst can be distinguished from a potentially malignant one by the appearance of the cyst wall. After using Cellvizio to view Linda’s cyst wall for the first time, Dr. Pereira explained that it had a supervascular network of tiny vessels which is typical of a benign cyst. The procedure took less than 30 minutes and results were instantaneous.
“Another key advantage of this technology is that patients like Linda can avoid undergoing major preventative pancreatic surgery,” adds Dr. Pereira. “In this case we were able to rule out cancer and sent Linda home. Since this is a relatively new procedure, we do follow-up with patients in a standard way while we gain more experience with Optical Biopsy.”
“It gave me peace of mind,” says Linda. “There may be others who are not aware of the options available when diagnosed with a pancreatic cyst. Cellvizio Optical Biopsy helped me return to my life and continue doing the things I love doing.”
Several published clinical trials show that endomicroscopy with Cellvizio provides an accurate description of a pancreatic cyst in about eight out of ten patients. In cases where the image is not conclusive, a traditional aspiration of fluid can still be taken. A clinical study is ongoing and is currently recruiting patients from the Royal Free Hospital and University College Hospital in London as well as Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. Soon patients will also be able to join the study at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital and Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre.
We know that pancreatic cancer is so dangerous because symptoms do not usually occur until advanced stages. But what if we knew the steps that lead to the formation of precancerous lesions at the molecular level? Maybe cancer could be identified earlier. Better yet, maybe the development of the lesions could be stopped.
Pancreatic cancer is often found late and spreads quickly. This makes it difficult to treat – it’s predicted to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States by 2030.i The American Cancer Society estimates about 46,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the US in 2014.ii
Cancerous pancreatic cysts are hard to catch because they often don’t cause any early symptoms, but improvements in imaging technology are helping physicians find these cysts more frequently. We believe not knowing the nature of a pancreatic cyst may soon become a thing of the past. And improved awareness and better funding will only help physicians diagnose cancer faster.
This November, Mauna Kea Technologies is joining tens of thousands of people around the world in recognizing Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and the first ever World Pancreatic Cancer Day on November 13th.
International non-profit organizations including the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in the US and Pancreatic Cancer Action in the UK are coming together to raise awareness, improve research funding, and provide support for individuals and families living with the disease.
Here are a few ways you can get involved and show your support this month:
- Wear purple!
Pancreatic Cancer Action’s “Turn It Purple” campaign asks you to embrace purple this month by wearing, lighting, sharing, or making something purple.
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has organized “Purple for a Purpose” for World Pancreatic Cancer Day. Celebrities, media influencers, on-air talent and other supporters will wear purple to raise awareness.
- Use social media!
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network invites you to join the “Wage Hope” campaign this month by visiting www.facebook.com/jointhefight and following @PanCAN on Twitter. Actions include changing Facebook profiles and cover photos and sharing and retweeting content.
i Rahib, Lola. “Projecting Cancer Incidence and Deaths to 2030: The Unexpected Burden of Thyroid, Liver, and Pancreas Cancers in the United States.” Cancer Research. Published online May 19, 2014. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2014/03/25/0008-5472.CAN-14-0155.full.pdf+html.
ii American Cancer Society. “What are the key statistics about pancreatic cancer?” June 11, 2014. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/pancreaticcancer/detailedguide/pancreatic-cancer-key-statistics.
What are Pancreatic Cysts?
Pancreatic cysts are fluid-filled sacs within your pancreas, a large organ behind the stomach that produces the hormones and enzymes that help digest food. Most pancreatic cysts are benign, but some cysts have a risk of becoming cancerous over time. Because pancreatic cancer can spread rapdily, early detection and diagnosis is vital.
Standard Methods of Diagnosing Pancreatic Cysts
Fine Needle Aspiration – FNA is the most common biopsy procedure for pancreatic cysts, and allows to obtain cells from the lesion to be analyzed under a microscope for final diagnosis. FNA is usually performed through an Endoscopic Ultrasound-guided approach (EUS). EUS is an endoscopy procedure combined with ultrasound images to view the pancreas. A needle is introduced into the pancreas using the ultrasound images guidance to collect the cells. Despite the value of this diagnostic method, many pancreatic cysts remain uncharacterized after the procedure because, and patients need to go through additional procedures to get a final diagnosis.
Cross Sectional Imaging – A CT Scan and MRI may be used to only detect a lesion. This form of diagnosis, however, cannot characterize the type of cyst. They will only show where the cyst is in the pancreas, and can help to measure its size. It is thus a preliminary form of detection, but needs to be completed with other diagnostic methods such as endoscopic ultrasound.
How is Cellvizio Different Than Other Diagnostic Methods?
Cellvizio Optical Biopsy enables physicians to visualize the wall of the cyst at the cellular level, making an early cancer diagnosis possible.
The direct benefits of Cellvizio Optical Biopsy include:
Ability to determine the type of cyst patients have on the spot, in particular know right after the procedure if their cyst is benign
Provide the physician with real-time information on the cyst type so that he can make a decision on best treatment option as early as possible, in particular:
Ability to start treatment early if the cysts is cancerous
Ability to avoid unnecessary surgery if the cyst is proven to be benign on the spot
According to a recent study by researchers at Brown University, Forsyth Institute and HarvardUniversity, the health of your mouth could potentially be linked with pancreatic cancer.
The study proved that the oral bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis is linked with nearly doubling the risk of getting pancreatic cysts and pancreatic cancer. The study included using the health history of more than 405 people with pancreatic cancer and 416 people without pancreatic cancer. Blood samples were drawn from each person and researchers measured the antibodies from 25 different kinds of bacteria.
Research showed a strong link between increased amounts of antibodies against Porphyromonas gingivalis and pancreatic cancer, leading them to believe that cancer was not causing the high antibody levels. The high amount of antibodies against Porphyromonas gingivalis were present for years before the patient developed pancreatic cancer, showing a direct link between poor oral health and pancreatic cancer.
In addition to finding the link between high amounts of antibodies against Porphyromonas gingivalis and pancreatic cancer, researchers also found that there was a 45 percent reduced risk of developing pancreatic cancer if participants had high antibody levels against harmful oral bacteria.
Oral Health Tips
1. Brush your teeth twice a day
2. Practice good technique – Hold your toothbrush at an angle so the toothbrush is pointed towards the area where your tooth meets your gum.
3. Don’t skimp on flossing – Make sure you use at least 18 inches of floss and take it one tooth at a time when flossing.
1 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, BrownUniversity, Box G-S121-2, Providence, RI02912, USA and2.
2 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, ImperialCollege, LondonW2 1PG, UK
Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School1 determined that eating a one-ounce serving of nuts at least twice a week decreases your chance of developing pancreatic pseudocysts and cancerous cysts. Decrease your chances of developing pancreatic cancer with this easy, delicious recipe.
1. 2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
2. 1 cup dried apricots, cut in quarters
3. 1 cup dried tart cherries
4. 1.5 cups roasted almonds
5. 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
6. 2 T unsalted butter
7. 2 T packed brown sugar
8. 1/2 cup honey
9. Sea salt or kosher salt
1. Line an 8″x8″ pan with foil and lightly butter
2. In a large bowl, combine puffed brown rice cereal, dried fruits, almonds and chocolate.
3. In a small saucepan, heat butter, brown sugar and honey over medium heat until butter melts. Pour over cereal mixture and stir until completely coated.
4. Spread into prepared 8″x8″ pan and press firmly down. Sprinkle sea salt on top of bars. Chill for about one hour.
RECIPE SOURCE: WHITEONRICECOUPLE.COM.
According to a recent report in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, there is a direct link between the amount of soda individuals drink and their chance of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. “The high levels of sugar in soft drinks may be increasing the level of insulin in the body, which we think contributes to pancreatic cancer cell growth,” said Mark Pereira, senior author of the report on pancreatic cancer and soda intake.
The study, which took place throughout a 14 year period, included following more than 60,000 men and women. Throughout that time, there were 140 reported cases of pancreatic cancer. The individuals who consumed more than two soft drinks per week increased their chance of getting pancreatic cancer by 87 percent.
Healthy Alternatives to Soda
Do you reach for a soda when you’re thirsty? There are healthy options available if you enjoy the sweet, carbonated taste of a soft drink.
1. Flavored Waters
Adding a few slices of your favorite fruit can give your water the extra flavor your drink needs without adding calories or other negative health risks associated with soda.
Though there was a link between soda intake and an increased chance of pancreatic cancer, there was no link to pancreatic cancer and juice. Juice can be refreshing, low in sugar and healthy!
3. Green Tea
Not only does green tea taste great, there are also many health benefits to drinking green tea. Some health benefits include reducing the risk of several types of cancer, reducing hypertension and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Believe you may have an increased chance of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer? Find out early with Cellvizio Optical Biopsy.
Noel T. Mueller, Andrew Odegaard, Kristin Anderson, Jian-Min Yuan, Myron Gross, Woon-Puay Koh, and Mark A. Pereira. Soft Drink and Juice Consumption and Risk of Pancreatic Cancer: The Singapore Chinese Health Study. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 2010; 19 (2): 447 DOI:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-09-0862
In a recent study by Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School1 it was determined that there is an association between an increase in nut consumption and a decreased risk of pancreatic cysts and cancer.
The study shows that eating a one-ounce serving of nuts at least twice a week decreases your chance of developing a pancreatic pseudocysts, or cancerous cysts.
Five Healthiest Nuts
Here are a few of the healthiest nuts to have for your go-to afternoon snack:
Almonds are considered a super food because they’re high in Vitamin E, fiber, calcium, zinc and folic acid. They are the most nutrient-dense nut and a tasty snack!
Walnuts contain the highest amount of antioxidants. Not only can they help protect you against pancreatic cancer, but they also lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Cashews are a great source of magnesium, calcium, vitamin B and folic acid. They also contain twice as much iron as ground beef.
Pecans are antixodant-rich, making them powerful in protecting you against cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease.
5. Brazil Nuts
Studies show that Brazil Nuts can protect you against certain cancers, skin disorders and anxiety. Due to the high selenium content, consuming Brazil Nuts even help reduce asthma.
1. Bao Y, Hu FB, Giovannucci EL, Wolpin BM, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Fuchs CS. “Nut consumption and risk of pancreatic cancer in women.” PubMed. 26 Nov 2013. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24149179.
Welcome to our educational medical website dedicated to providing patients and families with accurate, comprehensive information about pancreatic cysts and about Cellvizio Optical Biopsy, a new imaging technique that may help doctors to “see cancer faster” . We hope this website will be a useful resource and help you to choose the best option should you or a loved one be faced with the possibility of a cancerous pancreatic cyst.
There is also an in-depth section on Patient Resources that includes:
– Frequently Asked Questions
– A list of questions you may wish to ask your doctor
– Testimonies from other patients
If you are interested in getting touch with a doctor who might be able to offer you more information about Cellvizio Optical Biopsy, please refer to the Physician Locator.
We welcome your feedback, suggestions and comments!
The DiagnosingPancreaticCysts.com Team