Gallstones could be a sign of pancreatic cancer

The appearance of gallstones may be a precursor to pancreatic ductal cancer. Understanding the relationship between diseases will allow us to identify and begin treatment of malignant neoplasms at an early stage.

The incidence of gallstones was 6 times higher among patients diagnosed with pancreatic ductal cancer, a study by scientists from Boston Medical Center showed. The results were presented at the annual meeting of American gastroenterologists Digestive Disease Week 2022 in San Diego and published on Medscape.

The incidence of gallstones in the year before diagnosis of pancreatic ductal cancer was 4.7%, and the incidence of cholecystectomy was 1.6%. Among people without cancer, cholelithiasis and cholecystitis were detected in 0.8% of cases, cholecystectomy was performed in 0.3% of patients.

The study authors note that it is impossible to say with certainty which is the cause and which the effect, but there is a connection between the formation of gallstones and the development of pancreatic ductal cancer that needs to be studied. According to Tevayi Saksa (Teviah Sachs) from Boston Medical Center, most people with gallstones do not have cancer. However, if a patient with cholelithiasis or cholecystitis is bothered by symptoms that do not fit into the classic picture of the disease, it is necessary to consider additional examination.

The researchers analyzed the SEER-Medicare database and identified 18,700 patients who were diagnosed with pancreatic ductal cancer from 2008 to 2015. The average age of the participants was 76 years. The control group included patients without malignant neoplasms.

According to Marianne Papageorge (Marianna Papageorge) from Boston Medical Center, understanding the relationship between the formation of gallstones and pancreatic cancer will make it possible to detect and treat cancer at an early stage, and therefore reduce the mortality associated with it.

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