Researchers closer to demystifying ‘unknown’ cancer

June 17th, 2008 - 2:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, June 17 (IANS) Promising new research into one of the deadliest but largely hidden cancers is likely to spur more intensive scientific efforts to improve treatment and save lives. A study of 14,500 cases of cancer, diagnosed without any organ of origin, has thrown up evidence that some patients may have better survival chances than previously thought by experts.

Known as “unknown primary cancer”, or UPC, it results in a 80 percent higher chance of dying in patients in the first year after diagnosis, compared to the same stage in those with a known primary tumour, said Jim Bishop of the Cancer Institute here.

UPC is the fifth most common cancer in women and the seventh most common in men and accounts for four percent of all cancers.

The median survival for patients with UPC that has spread throughout the body is only three months, compared to five months where the primary tumour is known.

“With this new information, doctors and researchers can now explore how this cancer could be diagnosed earlier - therefore improving a patient’s chances of survival,” Bishop said.

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