Local Doctor Uses New Technique To Fight Pancreatic Cancer

by Symptom Advice on February 17, 2012

A local doctor has a new way to detect and help prevent pancreatic cancer.  It’s an inexpensive screening program he says could save lives.

Dr. Gordon Hixson has been in radiology for more than 40 years.  He now hopes to use his experience in imaging to identify pancreatic cancer early.

Dr. Hixson spends most of his time looking carefully at ultrasounds.  He’s looking for any signs of cancer in the pancreas.  He says this is a new and unique way to detect it.  “You can simply use inexpensive ultrasound of the abdoman to target just the pancreas itself.”

Dr. Hixson says that specific view can show a block of the pancreatic duct that could be cancer.  It’s a terrifying image that Dr. Hixson noticed on his own ultrasound three years ago.  “It was much smaller than the usual pancreatic cancer and I didn’t have any symptoms.”

Just the year before he had travelled to Italy with his wife and was in perfect health.  but during a routine screening as a precaution, he spotted a small speck.  that turned out to be cancer, growing his pancreatic duct to 6 times the average.  He says if it weren’t for that early image, he would not have recovered.  “I would not be here now, had this not have happened, I think it may have been divine intervention.”

Dr. Hixson says that intervention involves passing on his technique to others, in a new low cost, early screening program for pancreatic cancer.  A disease that doesn’t have detection guidelines, and detection isn’t always covered by healthcare.  “We should be able to cut the death rate from 95 percent to 50 percent, I really do believe that.”

He hopes to use his own story of success to steer others toward a life saving screening.  “I like to help other people so this is one way to help a lot of people.”

The screenings just became available this year at the Women’s Diagnostic Center.  They’re being offered for both men and women over the age of about 60.

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