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The 5 most difficult cancers to diagnose

By 15 February 2024No Comments
sondes échographiques 2d transesophageal ultrasound

sondes échographiques 2d transesophageal ultrasoundPreviously, PRS Healthcare highlighted the Panorama of Cancer in France in 2023, published by the French National Cancer Institute (INC), on our “News” page. However, this report does not address the issue of the difficulty of diagnosis. Some cancers are more difficult to detect than others. Today, our 2D, 3D and transesophageal ultrasound repair laboratory lists some of them.

Cancers in France

Many cancers can be detected by medical imaging, in particular by a simple ultrasound scan, according to the 3rd Panorama of Cancers in France! But the pathology must still be detected in time! Early detection of the disease is essential to “increase the chances of recovery and reduce the risk of complications”, says the report… whatever the cancer in question. Problem is, some cancers are harder to detect than others.

The most challenging cancers

1 – Pancreatic cancer

“Only 10-20% of patients are diagnosed at a stage where the tumour is resectable. Pancreatic cancer is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage because it remains asymptomatic for a long time. When cancer cells develop in the pancreas, they first multiply silently before forming a tumour that eventually grows and disrupts the functioning of the organ and its environment,” explains the overview of cancers in France. The 5-year survival rate is only 11%. Pancreatic cancer can be diagnosed by a number of tests, including endoscopic ultrasound or abdominal ultrasound.

2 – Renal cancer

According to the French National Cancer Institute, kidney cancer is “most often diagnosed by chance during an ultrasound or abdominal scan performed for another reason”. Kidney cancer does not cause any symptoms in its early stages. Kidney cancer is also relatively rare, accounting for only 3% of all cancers in France.

3 – Ovarian cancer

Because it causes few symptoms, ovarian cancer is also difficult to diagnose. As a result, the vast majority of patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease,” notes the INC in its overview. The 5-year survival rate is 43%. Several medical imaging tests (pelvic ultrasound, CT scan, MRI) can confirm the presence and stage of ovarian cancer.

4 – Liver cancer

According to the INC: “Liver cancer most often occurs in a liver that has already been weakened, usually by alcoholic cirrhosis or viral hepatitis. Liver cancer is often detected during surveillance of this disease. Cancer can also be detected in a healthy person, but in this case the symptoms of the disease are delayed and not very specific. The 5-year survival rate is 18%. What is the diagnosis of liver cancer if the patient has hepatitis or alcoholic cirrhosis? Every 6 months by ultrasound!

5 – Lung cancer

Pulmonary cancer is diagnosed using medical imaging. According to the INC, “only early diagnosis can lead to curative surgery, and lung cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage. Symptoms are not specific to this disease and early diagnosis is difficult. The 5-year survival rate is 20%.

What about brain tumours ?

There are other cancers which are complex to diagnose and treat. Brain tumours are a particular concern for our laboratory, which repairs 2D, 3D and transesophageal ultrasound probes. On its website, the INC explains: “There are many different types of brain tumours. Depending on their location, size and aggressiveness, i.e. the speed at which they develop, these tumours do not cause the same symptoms or have the same severity”. This is undoubtedly why the INC panorama does not mention this type of cancer. There should probably be a separate overview. A brain tumour is diagnosed using a CT scan or MRI. In the case of a malignant tumour, the 5-year survival rate is between 20 and 30 per cent.

The importance of maintaining 2D, 3D and TEE probes!

When early diagnosis is critical to a patient’s survival… As a healthcare professional, having ultrasound probes in good condition is just as important! Did you know? All studies of 2D, 3D and transesophageal ultrasound probe fleets in hospital centres show that 20 to 25% of your probes have visible or invisible problems. This obviously makes diagnosis difficult. Don’t wait for problems to get worse – have your tubes checked regularly by specialists. The sooner you deal with a faulty sensor, the more you’ll reduce your maintenance costs! Would you like us to carry out an audit of your fleet of ultrasound probes for you? Then let us know!