An Advanced Approach to Diagnosis and Staging
The key to precise diagnosis and staging of pancreatic cancer is endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), a technique that uses soundwaves to create an image of the pancreas. This is done using a special thin tool--called an endoscope--that is inserted into the body and near the pancreas. Physicians can also use endoscopes to collect tissue for biopsy in a procedure called "endoscopic ultrasound-guided, fine needle aspiration." An interventional gastroenterologist performs these procedures.
"An endoscopic ultrasound or endoscopic ultrasound-guided, fine needle aspiration can provide very precise staging and can even detect tumors when other imaging modalities have been unable to provide a diagnosis," says Irving Waxman, MD, director of endoscopy at the University of Chicago and a founder of the pancreatic cancer program. Similar techniques can play a role in the application of investigational treatments, such as gene therapy, and in palliative treatment, which works to relieve pain and other symptoms related to the disease.
The University of Chicago is one of the few medical centers in the nation that has an established program in interventional endoscopy. We're also the only hospital in Chicago that is training physicians in this emerging field. » Learn more about gastrointestinal interventional endoscopy and endoscopic ultrasound.