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Pancreatic Cancer Waiting Longer Before Pancreatic-Cancer Surgery Improves Outcomes STORY HIGHLIGHTS While most centers provide preoperative treatments to patients with borderline- resectable or locally advanced pancreatic cancer for about three months, UCLA specialists typically wait for up to six-to-eight months before surgery. Nonoperative treatments have improved over the years, most notably in the approach to chemotherapies that are now available. For those patients who ultimately have surgery after the longer waiting period, median survival is roughly twice as long as what is generally achieved for other patients with the same disease stage. UCLAHEALTH.ORG Signiﬁcantly enhanced survival results are being achieved at UCLA by delaying surgery for pancreatic-cancer patients with borderline- resectable or locally advanced disease. While most centers provide preoperative treatments to this group of patients for about three months before performing surgery, the UCLA team typically waits for up to six-to-eight months — in an eﬀort to shrink the tumor and determine which patients will beneﬁt from the operation. For those patients who ultimately have surgery, median survival is 45 months — roughly twice as long as what is generally achieved for other patients with the same disease stage. “We believe the longer duration of preoperative therapy is a major contributor toward that improved survival,” says Timothy R. Donahue, MD, 1-800-UCLA-888 (1-800-825-2888) who heads the gastrointestinal surgery team that has achieved these results, which are the best that have been reported for such patients. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, and if current incidence and survival rates continue, it is projected to be the No. 2 cancer killer in the nation, behind only lung cancer, by 2020. The median survival for all patients diagnosed with the disease is less than one year. But treatments have improved, most notably in the approach to chemotherapies that are now available. Until recently, a single-agent therapy using gemcitabine was the standard. In the last three years, clinical trials for patients with advanced- stage disease have shown that adding albumin-