Mr Charles Imber is senior author on a major review published this month in the British Journal of Medicine (BMJ) in association with fellow surgeons Giles Bond-Smith, Neal Banga and Toby Hammond.
The review, Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma, highlights that around 8,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer are diagnosed in the UK each year. Although it’s not one of the most common cancers, at 13th in the incidence table, it is one of the biggest killers, being the fourth most common cause of death due to cancer in both men and women.
“The major problem with pancreatic cancer is that it causes very few symptoms. Like ovarian cancer, it is a silent killer. Few patients realise that anything is wrong before the cancer has started to spread outside the pancreas and so is more difficult to treat effectively,” explained Mr Imber.
Fewer than one in five patients are suitable for surgery to remove the pancreas and the pancreatic tumour when they are diagnosed. The other four out of five are inoperable and are treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Mr Imber recently carried out the first robotic pancreatic resection for pancreatic cancer, and is now developing this pioneering technique further.
Pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Bond-Smith G, Banga N, Hammond TM, Imber CJ. BMJ. 2012 May 16;344:e2476. doi: 10.1136/bmj.e2476