Pancreatic Cancer Centre Opens In Dublin

The Minister for Health Mary Harney is to officially open a new National Surgical Centre for Pancreatic Cancer at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin today.

The HSE National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP), has transferred all pancreatic cancer surgery services from Ireland's hospitals over 12 months ago, to the new facility.

Over 400 patients are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in Ireland every year. Most of these are aged over 65 and while the incidence of the disease has remained relatively static over the past decade, it is widely anticipated that with the ageing population the incidence will increase significantly over the coming decades.

While some investment was involved in the designation and development of the centre, the NCCP said the transfer of resources and their concentration in the national centre reduced the necessity for significant new funding.

According to Mr Justin Geoghegan the development of the new National Centre has been a key development in the treatment of pancreatic cancer: “I am delighted that it has been possible to harness the recognised skills and expertise of the experienced team here in St Vincent’s Hospital to make this centre a reality. International experience indicates that concentration of complex surgery of this type improves outcomes. The aim is to provide high quality surgical care for patients with pancreatic cancer in a prompt and standardised way.”

Although the disease carries a challenging prognosis, early intervention and access to expert diagnostic, imaging, surgical and post operative care are viewed as a vital in managing the condition.

On a European basis, access to surgery is on average available for up to 16% of cases. Access to surgery in Ireland, while low in the 1990s (at around 7%), has improved in recent years. Considered to be in excess of 12% at present, it is anticipated that it will increase over the coming decade following the opening of the new centre.

Approximately 100 pancreatic surgical procedures are carried out nationally every year. Up until 2009 almost all pancreatic cancer surgery was being performed in six hospitals – St James, the Mater Misercordiae, Beaumont, Tallaght, St Vincent’s University Hospital and Mercy Hospital, Cork – with hospitals on average performing less than 20 procedures each.


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