Livingston, N.J., March 15, 2021 – Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC), an RWJBarnabas Health facility, has pioneered one of the first cloud-based data management platforms in the country to identify, track, follow and monitor patients with pancreatic cysts. Through its unique partnership with Eon, a healthcare technology company, SBMC’s Pancreatic Cyst Surveillance Program identifies patients when incidental scans, such as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography scan (CT) or ultrasound, detect pancreatic cysts, and at-risk people are then contacted through a nurse navigator for potential follow-up. To date, the program has identified 136 patients.
Conventional surveillance programs rely on an outdated method of manual data input and tracking that is not optimized to address patient needs in an urgent and consistent manner. This new cloud-based program automatically signals high-risk individuals ensuring prompt and informed care. Additionally, the platform inputs a cyst’s individual features, including its size, pancreatic duct dilation and nodularity, into an algorithm, which tells doctors objectively if there is a risk of malignancy over time. Once a patient elects to enroll in the program, a nurse navigator will assist with scheduling the necessary screening, procedures or surgery.
“I believe this technology-based approach will forever change the way we monitor and treat patients with pancreatic cysts and tumors, and SBMC is excited to be at the forefront of the next breakthrough in the management of pancreatic care,” said Russell Langan, M.D., Chief of Surgical Oncology and Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgery at SBMC and Surgical Oncologist at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the state’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Because pancreatic surgery carries morbidity and a potential mortality rate, we want to ensure patients aren’t undergoing unnecessary surgery, however when a pancreatic cyst does require surgery, we want to operate at the most opportune time.”
Following the identification of a pancreatic cyst, a comprehensive team of surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists, radiologists, pathologists and geneticists conducts a weekly review of patient cases to determine the best course of treatment. This approach is especially important as a majority of pancreatic cysts are precancerous, making it essential that the entire team weighs the risks of surgical intervention versus continued monitoring or another course of action. About 90 percent of cysts do not need interventions, such as surgery, with some patients requiring only additional screening and/or an endoscopy and a biopsy of the fluid. However, approximately 10 percent of pancreatic cysts require more drastic measures.
“This is preventative medicine at its best for pancreatic care in general. By capturing patients who have a risk of developing pancreatic cancer in their lifetime, we can monitor these patients and determine whether medical intervention is necessary,” said Dr. Langan. “Through our unique multidisciplinary approach and partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, we are able to assess patients on a case-by-case basis to ensure we’re delivering the highest quality of care.”
About Pancreatic Cysts
The pancreas is an organ in the abdomen that lies behind the lower part of the stomach. The pancreas secretes enzymes that aid digestion and hormones that help regulate metabolism. Approximately 15 percent of Americans are believed to have a pancreatic cyst, and unlike other cysts such as those on the ovaries, liver or kidneys, pancreatic cysts carry the potential to increase the patient’s risk for pancreatic cancer. The risk of the cyst becoming cancerous can be as high as 60 percent and as low as 2 percent. Pancreatic cancer often has a poor outlook, as it typically grows and spreads rapidly and is usually detected in its later stages.
About Saint Barnabas Medical Center
Since 1865, Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC), New Jersey’s oldest nonsectarian hospital, has worked to exceed our community’s highest expectations for compassionate, comprehensive health care. The 597-bed institution is one of the largest health care providers in the state, treating more than 32,000 inpatients and close to 95,000 Emergency Department patients each year. Saint Barnabas Medical Center and the Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center provide treatment and services for more than 300,000 outpatient visits annually. Saint Barnabas Medical Center has long been recognized as a leader in providing the highest level of patient care—delivering more than 6,300 babies annually which is one of the largest programs in the state, leading the nation in Kidney Transplant, and providing more than 100 medical and surgical specialty and subspecialty services. RWJBarnabas Health and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey - the state's only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center - brings a world class team of researchers and specialists to fight alongside you, providing close-to-home access to the latest treatment and clinical trials. For more information, call 1-888-724-7123 or visit www.rwjbh.org/saintbarnabas. Saint Barnabas Medical Center is located 94 Old Short Hills Road, Livingston, NJ 07039.
About Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
As New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rutgers Cancer Institute, together with RWJBarnabas Health, offers the most advanced cancer treatment options, including bone marrow transplantation, proton therapy, CAR T-cell therapy and complex surgical procedures. Along with clinical trials and novel therapeutics such as precision medicine and immunotherapy – many of which are not widely available – patients have access to these cutting-edge therapies at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey at University Hospital in Newark, as well as through RWJBarnabas Health facilities.
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