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How long is pancreatic cancer typically present before it is diagnosed?

It may be present between 8 and 15 years before it's diagnosed. It starts with precursor lesions, and we don’t think that they accumulate as rapidly as they do in the polyp to colon cancer transformation process. We think it’s a longer process.

People are always stunned when they come in. They might say, "My own father -- I was playing golf with him in October, and in December he got sick. How can he be fine in October and sick in December?" The reality is that the cancer was percolating in there probably for a decade. That’s not with every tumor, but we’re just so far away from being able to do a good screening test for it. You need to have a fairly large number of these genetic changes to detect pancreatic cancer, and those are going to take years to accumulate.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.