Pancreatic cancer-prone families provide a unique resource for studying the etiology, natural history, genetics, and treatment of pancreatic cancer. The only effective way of identifying these families is by obtaining a complete family history, since it is not possible to differentiate sporadic pancreatic cancer cases from hereditary cases based on either clinical presentation or features. These families also would benefit greatly from early detection or prevention strategies. Ultimately, this knowledge could be applied to the more common sporadic form of pancreatic cancer, where diagnosis is almost always late, and prognosis remains quite grim.
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