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The new method could help people with new-onset diabetes at high-risk of developing pancreatic cancer to be identified more accurately so that they can be monitored.

A team of researchers led by Dr Ash Clift and Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox (Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences) have found a more effective way of identifying people with new-onset diabetes who are also at higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer than current recommendations set out by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Early detection of pancreatic cancer is crucial to improving survival rates but there are currently no simple diagnostic tools or screening programmes to help GPs identify the disease. New on-set diabetes can be an early sign of pancreatic cancer but it is common and most people who are diagnosed with diabetes do not go on to develop pancreatic cancer. The research team developed and validated a clinical risk prediction model that could in future have clinical utility in identifying individuals with recent onset diabetes with a high-risk of pancreatic cancer.

Current guidance from NICE recommends 2-week-wait abdominal imaging for people aged 60 and over who have recently been diagnosed with new onset type 2 diabetes, and are experiencing weight-loss.

However, the new research, which was funded by a Pancreatic Cancer UK Innovation Award and published in British Journal of Cancer, found that additional factors, such as recent indigestion, heartburn and nausea issues, abdominal pain, platelet count and blood clot history should be taken into account to provide a more nuanced estimation of an individual’s risk. This could help to fast-track those at higher risk for abdominal imaging.

 

Read more on the Pancreatic Cancer UK website.