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Quick Answers for Patients Fearing a Grim Diagnosis

Article Date: October 21, 2011
Partner Site: Gastroenterology Consultants

Endoscopic Ultrasound can diagnose Pancreatic Cancer without invasive surgery, reducing the need for delays in diagnosis and further costly tests.

The recent passing of Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs has brought renewed attention to a form of cancer that is both extremely deadly and difficult to diagnose. 
Until recently, surgery was the only way to obtain a clear picture of the size and makeup of a tumor in the pancreas, and most importantly, to get a true tissue diagnosis. Now a minimally-invasive procedure is available at Gastroenterology Consultants called Endoscopic Ultrasound with Needle Biopsy, which can provide a much more detailed view of tumors.  This procedure can do the following:

  • Tell physicians whether a tumor is involving other surrounding structures, like blood vessels, which can greatly impact responsiveness to treatment.
  • Indicate whether the tumor can be removed with surgery or if it cannot.

Prior to Endoscopic Ultrasound, a surgeon would have to proceed with surgery, often times having to close up the patient and later tell them to get their affairs in order.  In the meantime, the patient, already ailing from the cancer, must also recover from a painful incision after having had to anxiously await the findings of their diagnosis.   Not only was the surgery traumatic to the patient’s body, it added additional expense to the patient and their family, already facing a lot.  Endoscopic Ultrasound with Needle Biopsy is done as an outpatient and there are no external scars, general anesthesia or significant discomfort involved.

Needle biopsy allows physicians to obtain an accurate diagnosis and if an enlarged lymph node or metastatic lesion to the liver is seen (easily), a needle biopsy of these areas can immediately stage the cancer.  This skips multiple radiologic tests and surgical biopsies.  Speed and accuracy are what set Endoscopic Ultrasound with Needle Biopsy apart. 

This technology is quite difficult to master and requires extra training, which Drs. Arvind Movva, Ashok Attaluri and Ahmad Cheema, at Gastroenterology Consultants have earned.

With so much attention being focused on escalating medical costs, Endoscopic Ultrasound with Needle Biopsy is one diagnostic technique that offers great benefits to the patient, and to our entire medical system.

Pancreatic Cancer is a devastating disease.  Finding it as soon after symptoms begin affords patients and their families’ quick answers, so that they can then deal with the news, whatever the diagnosis.

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