Pancreatic Cancer: Early Detection

“Internationally acclaimed violinist Geoff Nuttall, a founding member of Canadian premier chamber ensemble the St. Lawrence String Quartet, passed away this week of cancer at the age of 56. Mr. Nuttall was deeply connected to The Royal Conservatory of Music, as a musician, teacher, and artist.”

“Currently, no screening tests exist that can catch pancreatic cancer early, before symptoms develop. NCI is now funding several large research projects that are working to develop such an early-detection tool. 

One known risk factor for developing pancreatic cancer is a new diagnosis of diabetes, sometimes called new-onset diabetes. About 1 in 100 people with new onset diabetes are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer within 3 years after learning they have diabetes. And 1 in 4 people who get pancreatic cancer had already been diagnosed with diabetes.

The NCI-funded New Onset Diabetes (NOD) Study, which is scheduled to run through 2025, is currently enrolling 10,000 people with new-onset diabetes or hyperglycemia (also known as prediabetes). The NOD researchers hope to develop a blood test that can identify the few individuals with a new diabetes diagnosis who may need further testing for pancreatic cancer.

Other NCI-funded teams, coordinated through the Pancreatic Cancer Detection Consortium (PCDC), are trying to create a blood test that could pick up early pancreatic cancer in the general population. PCDC researchers are also working to improve imaging of the pancreas, by developing methods that may be able to pick up tiny deposits of tumor cells.”

Learn more here.

Resident-Led Movember Fundraiser!

“Since 2004, the Movember Foundation charity has run Movember events to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer and depression, in Australia and New Zealand. In 2007, events were launched in Ireland, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Spain, the United Kingdom, Israel, South Africa, Taiwan and the United States. As of 2011, Canadians were the largest contributors to the Movember charities of any nation.

How to get involved: Sign up using the link below, and invite your preceptors to do the same. Then, throughout the month of November, commit to moving (“Move”mber) by walking or running 60km over the month. As another option, you can commit to growing a moustache for the 30 days of November. The idea behind the increase in physical activity and/or the moustache is that they provide opportunities to engage in important conversations about men’s health with those around you, and thus help you raise funds!”

Abbotsford-Mission Movember team page here.

Thank you for your time,

Dr. Justin Dhinsa
Abbotsford-Mission Family Practice Residency Program

Architect of Your Future Self


“‘You are constantly becoming a new person,’ says journalist Shankar Vendantam. In a talk full of beautiful storytelling, he explains the profound impact of something he calls the ‘illusion of continuity’ — the belief that our future selves will share the same views, perspectives and hopes as our current selves — and shows how we can more proactively craft the people we are to become.” via TED

Jazz & the ‘Art’ of Medicine

Doreen Ketchens plays “When The Saints Go Marching In”.


“Improvisation is an important aspect of patient-physician communication. It is also a defining feature of jazz music performance. This essay uses examples from jazz to illustrate principles of improvisation that relate to an individual communication act (ie, building space into one’s communication), a physician’s communicative style (i.e., developing one’s voice), and the communicative process of the medical encounter (i.e., achieving ensemble). At all 3 levels, the traditions of jazz improvisation can inform efforts to research and teach medical interviewing by fostering a contextualized view of patient-physician communication.”

Jazz and the ‘Art’ of Medicine: Improvisation in the Medical Encounter via Annals of Family Medicine.