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New Technique Could Detect Pancreatic Cancer Early

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Pancreatic cancer is a brutal and deadly disease. Fewer than five percent of patients who are diagnosed with it survive more than five years.

Doctors believe that early detection could increase survival rates. However, the disease has few symptoms that clearly warn patients they have the disease, and blood tests are not very effective at picking it up, detecting only 55 percent of pancreatic cancers.

A group of Japanese researchers has developed a new scientific technique that increases the chances of detecting early stage pancreatic cancers using a blood test.

They developed a technique that can help detect and differentiate cancerous cells from normal cells.

The researchers found that cancer cells produce molecules and proteins in different amounts than normal cells. Eventually, they came up with four molecules that, when observed together, are cancer indicators.

The new mathematical model could increase the odds of detecting early pancreatic cancer to four out of five patients.

This potential breakthrough discovery is still new, and is not widely available in hospital labs.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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