Facts About Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States—and has the highest mortality rate of all the major cancers1.
This year, nearly 45,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and over 37,000 will die from the disease1. The number of new cases and deaths caused by this deadly disease are increasing not decreasing.
Unlike other cancers, there are no early detection tools:
- No early detection or screening exam is currently available for pancreatic cancer.
- An estimated 73% of patients will die within one year of diagnosis1.
- The average life expectancy after diagnosis with metastatic disease is just five to seven months1.
- 94% of pancreatic cancer patients will die within 5 years of diagnosis and only 6% will survive more than five years1.
Few Risk Factors Are Well Defined3:
- Risk increases two to three fold when a first-degree relative is diagnosed.
- Smoking increases your risk two-fold.
- Adult-onset diabetes can be both a symptom of pancreatic cancer and a risk factor for developing the disease.
- Many symptoms of pancreatic cancer are vague and can be attributed to a variety of other conditions. They include pain (usually abdominal or back), weight loss, jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea, and diabetes.
More research is needed to know it, fight it and end it:
- Pancreatic cancer research is drastically under-funded and as a result, relatively few researchers are investigating the disease as compared with researchers focusing on breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, etc.
- Just 2% of the National Cancer Institute's budget is allocated to this leading killer.
- The types of cells that make up pancreatic cancer tumors are unique—which contributes to the unfortunate resistance of the tumors to chemotherapies.
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is committed to advancing research, supporting patients and creating hope for those affected by pancreatic cancer. Learn more about pancreatic cancer here.
1American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2012. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2012.
3http://www.path.jhu.edu/pancreas/PartAfAm.php?area=pa. Accessed June 2009.