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Many people with BRCA mutations wonder if screening for pancreatic cancer is appropriate—as yet, we have no clear answers regarding this issue, but research continues.
MRI and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)—passing a tiny scope with an ultrasound probe down the esophagus to the stomach—are currently considered the best screening tools. Upper endoscopy with EUS is more invasive than MRI. A blood test for CA19-9, a tumor marker present with pancreatic cancer, is also available, however, it is not recommended as it may give false positive or false negative results.
Currently no guidelines exist for pancreatic cancer screening in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers. People with mutations in genes associated with increased pancreatic risk, including BRCA mutations, and those with a family history of pancreatic cancer, are encouraged to discuss the pros and cons of annual screening with their health care provider. These individuals may also be eligible for pancreatic cancer screening studies. Visit our research study page for links to clinical trials for early detection of pancreatic cancer.
If pancreatic cancer runs in your family, it is important to consult with a genetics specialist to determine risk and management options.