Available at Capital Health Medical Center – Hopewell
Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US, with more than 48,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Because pancreas cancers and precancerous lesions are among the most challenging tumors to diagnose and effectively treat, Capital Health now offers a Pancreas Screening Program as part of its Center for Digestive Health and Cancer Center, both located at Capital Health Medical Center – Hopewell.
Led by Dr. Jason Rogart, director of Interventional Gastroenterology & Therapeutic Endoscopy at Capital Health, the program aims to identify early pre-cancerous lesions before they turn into cancer. While screening the general population for pancreas cancer is not recommended, there are high risk groups of people who should consider screening, such as those with a family history of the disease.
“In addition to family history concerns, adults older than age 45 are at greater risk, as are those who are overweight or have diabetes,” said Dr. Rogart. “Men and African Americans are also diagnosed more frequently, and controllable risk factors like smoking and heavy alcohol use can increase the risk very significantly.”
Providers at the Capital Health Center for Digestive Health and Cancer Center have years of specialized training and subspecialty fellowships in the field of pancreatic cancer and can recommend a plan and tests based on an individual’s personal risk factors and a comprehensive review of their medical history.
Minimally invasive screening options, accurate results
- Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS): Examines the organs of the digestive tract and the surrounding tissue. EUS is the most accurate test for identifying and diagnosing pancreatic cancer and pre-cancerous cysts, often finding tumors that can be missed by CT scan or MRI.
- During the procedure, a sample of suspicious tissue or a cyst may be obtained via fine needle aspiration (FNA) as an alternative to exploratory surgery or other invasive testing.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP): Tests that produce detailed images of the pancreas, liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, and pancreatic duct without x-rays.
- Computed Tomography (CT) scans: Sometimes called a “cat” scan, this imaging test uses special x-ray equipment to obtain images from different angles around the body. The Spiral CT scanner at Capital Health Medical Center – Hopewell provides extended coverage of the body, produces images with much greater detail, and allows for a faster and more accurate assessment of the pancreas and other organs.
If you’re concerned about your family’s history of pancreatic cancer, Capital Health’s Cancer Genetics Risk Assessment Program helps individuals and families understand the genetics of cancer and how it may affect them.
A visit with the Center’s genetic counseling team includes:
- An explanation of how cancer develops and how it is inherited
- A thorough review of your family history
- An assessment of your risk to develop cancer
- An estimation of the likelihood that there is a detectable cancer gene in your family
- A discussion of the risks, benefits, and limitations of genetic testing
- A discussion of the genetic testing options
- Recommendations for cancer screening
- A comprehensive summary letter
Appointments for Capital Health Cancer Genetics Risk Assessment Program can be scheduled 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday by calling 609-537-7043.