Prevention & Genetics

Here at The Pancreas Center, we believe identifying and treating individuals at the highest risk for pancreatic cancer prior to development of advanced disease poses the greatest opportunity in the battle against pancreatic cancer. While these topics are a focus in only a handful of the very best institutions in the country, prevention, genetics and early detection are priorities at this institution.

The Muzzi Mirza Pancreatic Cancer Prevention & Genetics Program combines a patient-centered clinical practice with a robust research program. Consistently on the leading edge of the prevention and early detection field, our clinical and research programs are integrally related. This allows the lessons learned from basic and translational research to be incorporated into clinical action quickly and effectively.

Inherited genetic mutations play a role in up to 25% of cases, and there is a 2 to 125-fold increase in the risk of pancreas cancer in individuals with a family history of the disease. It is known that at least five distinct cancer syndromes account for a number of inherited pancreatic cancers: Familial atypical multiple mole melanoma syndrome (FAMMM); Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS); Early-onset familial breast cancer syndrome due to BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations; Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer syndrome (HNPCC); and Hereditary pancreatitis.

Risk analysis can help those with a family history of pancreas cancer to determine their own chance of getting the disease. At the Muzzi Mirza Pancreatic Cancer Prevention & Genetics Program, we take into consideration all factors known to contribute to an individual's risk of pancreas cancer, a process known as risk stratification. We analyze personal and family medical history, provide genetic counseling and testing, and recommend imaging of the pancreas with sensitive techniques in order to detect pre-cancerous abnormalities or small cancers that are surgically curable.

Muzzi Mirza Pancreatic Cancer Prevention & Genetics Program Team

Caroline Hwang, MD
Clinical Research Fellow

Fay Kastrinos
Clinical Director

Mary Kay Dabney, MS
Genetic Counselor

Elania Levinson
Genetics Consular