There was obviously a mistake in the headline in the commentary about prostate cancer screening that appeared Sunday in the print edition of The Baltimore Sun (“Insurers should cover pancreatic cancer screening,” Feb. 23). It mentioned pancreatic cancer, when it meant prostate cancer, but the message in the headline is still correct. While pancreatic cancer is less common than prostate cancer, it is far deadlier.
For all stages of pancreatic cancer combined, the one-year relative survival rate is about 20% and the five-year rate only 5-to-10%. However, there is the potential for cure if small asymptomatic cancers are detected at a very early stage. Screening is not recommended for persons at average risk but for those at high risk because of a positive family history or carriage of certain genetic markers, early screening by endoscopic ultrasound or MRI is recommended.
There is an urgent need for more public education regarding screening protocols. Hopefully, insurance coverage for screening will not be an issue.
Dr. Beryl Rosenstein, Pikesville
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