Who Dies From This Cancer
Because survival is poor, the population distribution of people who die of pancreatic cancer is similar to that of people who are diagnosed with the disease. In part because it is difficult to detect early, the average survival time from pancreatic cancer is low. Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The death rate was 11.1 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 20162020 deaths, age-adjusted.
Death Rate per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Pancreatic Cancer
What Goes Into A Prognosis
When figuring out your prognosis, your healthcare provider will consider all the things that could affect the cancer and its treatment. He or she will look at risk estimates for the type and stage of the cancer you have. These estimates are based on what results researchers have seen over many years in other people with the same type and stage of cancer.
If your cancer is likely to respond well to treatment, your healthcare provider will say you have a favorable prognosis. This means youre expected to live many years and may even be cured. If your cancer is likely to be hard to control, your prognosis may be less favorable. The cancer may shorten your life. Its important to keep in mind that a prognosis states whats likely or probable. It is not a prediction of what will definitely happen. No healthcare provider can be fully certain about an outcome.
Your prognosis depends mainly on:
The type and location of the cancer
The stage of the cancer
Your overall health
How well your cancer responds to treatment
Pancreatic Cancer Survival By Age
Five-year survival for pancreatic cancer is highest in the youngest men and women and decreases with increasing age. Five-year net survival in men ranges from 17% in 15-49 year-olds to 2% in 80-99 year-olds for patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in England during 2009-2013. In women, five-year survival ranges from 26% to 2% in the same age groups. Five-year survival is significantly higher in women compared with men in the 15-49 age group.
Pancreatic Cancer , Five-Year Net Survival by Age, England, 2009-2013
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Our Approach To Pancreatic Cancer
Johns Hopkins pancreatic surgeons perform a variety of innovative techniques to treat pancreatic cancer, including operations using both traditional open methods and minimally invasive methods. During one appointment at our multidisciplinary clinic, patients will meet with experienced specialists who will care for them at every stage of the journey.
Cancer Of The Left Pancreas
Patients with cancer in the body and tail region are usually diagnosed with a tumor that has passed beyond the boundary of the organ. Frequently there is infiltration into the splenic vein and portal vein wall and direct retropancreatic spread. Every second patient has hepatic metastases at the time of diagnosis. Subtotal resection of the left pancreas, including vascular wall resection and removal of the spleen and if necessary removal of the left adrenal, is possible in only 8% to 15% of patients . Extensive resection can provide a 5-year probability of survival of 22%, and standard resection 8% .
In R0 resected patients with pancreatic head/tail cancer, median survival times of 10 to 16 months are achieved , . Patients with left pancreatic cancer consecutive to cystic neoplasia should undergo oncological resection whenever possible R0 resection provides a 5-year probability of survival of 35% to 45% in mucinous cystic cancers .
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Variation In Pancreatic Cancer Treatment And Care
Depending on where someone diagnosed with pancreatic cancer receives care, their experience can be very different there can be different diagnostic pathways, different standards of care and different approaches to treatment.
Geographically, variation in treatment and care exists at all levels. There is international survival variation across developed countries, regional treatment variation across Cancer Alliances, and local variation in clinical practice between hospitals.
Physical Status After Treatment
Getting the right nutrition and keeping physically active as much as possible under the circumstances can really impact how a patient tolerates the side effects of treatment and the symptoms of pancreatic cancer.
Younger patients tend to do better because they have fewer other conditions that may limit recovery, but even older patients can positively impact their prognosis by focusing on nutrition and exercise.
Talk to your doctor about what to expect after treatment and what you can do to get the best possible prognosis.
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Why Pancreatic Cancer Is So Deadly
Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek died on Sunday more than a year after he announced he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
The cause of his death was not immediately announced. Trebek revealed in March 2019 he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, triggering an outpouring of support.
Earlier this year, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer, and US Rep. John Lewis died months after his pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
In all, pancreatic cancer was the third-leading cause of death from cancer in the United States in 2018, after lung and colorectal cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute.
This year, an estimated 56,770 new cases of pancreatic cancer will be diagnosed and an estimated 45,750 deaths from pancreatic cancer will occur across the nation, according to the American Cancer Society.
About 95% of people with pancreatic cancer die from it, experts say. Its so lethal because during the early stages, when the tumor would be most treatable, there are usually no symptoms. It tends to be discovered at advanced stages when abdominal pain or jaundice may result. Presently, there are no general screening tools.
As people age, the risk of developing pancreatic cancer goes up. Most patients are older than 45, and nearly 90% are older than 55. The average age at diagnosis is 71.
Access To Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
Surgery is the only treatment with curative intent for pancreatic cancer while chemotherapy and radiotherapy have also been shown to improve survival in late stage pancreatic cancer. However, most people with pancreatic cancer will receive no active treatment .
7 in 10 people with pancreatic cancer do not receive any active treatment.
1 in 10 people with pancreatic cancer will receive potentially curative surgery.
2 in 10 people will receive chemotherapy.
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Potentially Curable If Caught Very Early
Despite the overall poor prognosis and the fact that the disease is mostly incurable, pancreatic cancer has the potential to be curable if caught very early. Up to 10 percent of patients who receive an early diagnosis become disease-free after treatment. For patients who are diagnosed before the tumor grows much or spreads, the average pancreatic cancer survival time is 3 to 3.5 years.
What Do We Mean By Pancreatic Cancer Prognosis
When we look at pancreatic cancer prognosis and life expectancy, we usually focus on the five-year survival ratethe percentage of people still alive five years after their pancreatic cancer has been diagnosed.
Why five years? We use five years as a benchmark because thats a good indicator that the cancer has responded to treatment.
Keep in mind, these rates do not refer to people who survive ONLY five years. Some go on to live much longer than that.
Also, since these numbers take five years to collect, they dont always reflect survival improvements due to advances in treatment.
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What You Can Do
If youve been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, there may not be much you can do to alter outcome based solely on lifestyle changes. However, eat a healthy diet and keep active if you can. It is possible that these types of changes can improve general health and performance status, which can lead to better outcomes, not to mention a better quality of life.
If youre looking to prevent pancreatic cancer , its always a good time to quit smoking . After 10 years, your pancreatic cancer risk will be the same as a non-smoker. Sadly, if youve already got a diagnosis, theres no evidence that quitting smoking actually increases survival times, though it would likely make you feel better.
Losing weight might also sound like a good idea, and it would be if youre trying to prevent pancreatic cancer, diabetes, and other health problems. But if youre already diagnosed, its not wise to embark on a weight-loss program while undergoing chemotherapy.
What you can do is make sure youre eating the right foods and you have the right medications to help you digest food. Pancreatic cancer patients often need to be prescribed digestive enzymes to help with digestion.
Before embarking on any lifestyle intervention, speak with your oncologist.
What Are The Risk Factors For Pancreatic Cancer
A risk factor is a parameter that can increase the probability of a pathology or trauma occurring. On the other hand, the presence of a risk factor does not necessarily imply the occurrence of the pathology with which it is associated.In the case of pancreatic cancer, different risk factors have been identified with varying degrees of certainty. These can be classified into two categories: factors inherent to the individual and environmental factors.One of the risk factors inherent in the individual is age. Indeed, there is a peak in the onset of pancreatic cancer between the ages of 65 and 85, with a low probability of the disease occurring before the age of 50.Some risk is also related to family predispositions or genetics. Examples of genetic mutations include the BRCA2 and CDKN2A genes.Finally, blood groups A, AB and B may also have a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer.One of the environmental risk factors is tobacco: a threefold increase in the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, with the risk increasing with consumption and duration of smoking.The scientific community established a list of risk factors that may increase the chances of developing a pancreatic cancer. But, as mentioned by Pancreatic Cancer UK, its important to remember that having some of the risk factors doesnt mean you will definitely get pancreatic cancer.
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How Common Is Pancreatic Cancer
The American Cancer Societys estimates for pancreatic cancer in the United States for 2022 are:
- About 62,210 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
- About 49,830 people will die of pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers in the US and about 7% of all cancer deaths.
It is slightly more common in men than in women.
What Are The Causes Of Pancreatic Cancer
Cancers, and pancreatic cancer in particular, are complex biological phenomena and are generally due to a combination of causes.Cancers can be the result of one or more risk factors, even though these diseases can developed in people with no risk factors.The incidence and prevalence of pancreatic cancer vary widely within and between countries. These disparities result from genetic differences, as well as exposure to certain environmental risk factors.For instance, levels of smoking, alcohol consumption, as well as the number of people with diabetes and obesity are different in Europe, which contributes to the variation in the incidence of pancreatic cancer.
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Prognosis Depends On Stage At Diagnosis
Long-term prognosis for pancreatic cancer depends on the size and type of the tumor, lymph node involvement and degree of metastasis at the time of diagnosis. The earlier pancreatic cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis.
Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer usually shows little or no symptoms until it has advanced and spread. Therefore, most cases are diagnosed at later, more difficult-to-treat stages.
Read more about pancreatic cancer staging.
How Is The Survival Rate Determined
For the five-year survival rate, SEER uses data from different areas throughout the country. When SEER was first developed, there were nine places that data were gathered from, making up the SEER-9 database.
SEERs database has grown to 18 regions now, called SEER-18. But, they continue to use the SEER-9 data as the benchmark to compare survival rate trends over time.
To get the five-year survival rate, numbers must be analyzed over a range of time. This means that the patients included in the analysis received treatment and care that may be different from today. Knowledge and treatment have improved in recent years.
There are many other ways to look at survival. Besides the five-year survival rate, people also measure:
- Overall survival: the length of time from diagnosis to a patients death
- Progression-free survival: how long a person stays on a treatment without their disease getting worse
- Disease-free survival: the amount of time a person is believed to be cancer-free, also known as no evidence of disease
These other survival measurements are often used to judge success of clinical trials.
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What Does This Mean For Me
While these statistics give a reliable estimate for the general population, they dont always take into account the details of your particular case.
Personal factors like age, family history and behavior can have a significant effect on your prognosis and may affect how closely these numbers apply to you.
Survival rate is one aspect of prognosis. Your outlook may be just as focused on comfort and quality of life as it is on life expectancy, and all of these elements will be affected by personal treatment decisions you and your health care team make. Be sure to talk with your doctor about your specific goals.
Survival For Pancreatic Endocrine Tumours
Pancreatic endocrine tumours are an uncommon type of pancreatic cancer. More recently doctors have been calling them neuroendocrine neoplasms . This is an umbrella term for this group of disorders. Then they are called either neuroendocrine tumours or neuroendocrine carcinomas . This depends on how slow or fast growing the cells are.
They generally have a better outlook than adenocarcinoma of the pancreas.
1 year survival
The information below is for 1 year overall survival for pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms in the UK.
Around 80 in 100 people survive for 1 year or more.
5 year survival
There are no UK-wide 5 year survival statistics available for pancreatic NENs. The statistics below are from a European study. Please be aware that these figures may not be a true picture of survival in the UK. This is due to differences in health care systems, data collection and the population,
Around 40 out of 100 people survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.
British Journal of Cancer Volume 121, pages 966972
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Pancreatic Cancer Survival Rates
Pancreatic cancer survival rates are based on groups, but you are an individualand every patients situation is unique. The National Cancer Institutes Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program tracks five-year survival rates for all types of cancer based on data from previous patients and sometimes older treatments.
Based on people diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2011 and 2017, SEER data shows:
- Localized prostate cancer that is contained within the pancreas has a five-year relative survival rate of 41.6 percent.
- Regional cancer that has spread from the pancreas into nearby parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, has a five-year relative survival rate of 14.4 percent.
- Distant cancer that has spread to farther parts of the body, such as the liver or lungs, has a five-year relative survival rate of 3 percent.
- The overall five-year relative survival rate for pancreatic cancer is 10.8 percent.
Its important to remember that survival rates are constantly improving, so patients diagnosed now typically have better outcomes than those diagnosed in the past.
Why Is Early Detection Important
Patients whose disease is diagnosed in its earlier stages have better outcomes. This is due to a greater likelihood that they are eligible for surgery.
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and others are working to find pancreatic cancer earlier through:
- Awareness of symptoms
- Studies focused on biomarkers
- Efforts to improve imaging techniques
- Efforts to improve the identification and monitoring of people at higher risk for the disease
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What Is A 5
A relative survival rate compares people with the same type and stage of pancreatic cancer to people in the overall population. For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific stage of pancreatic cancer is 50%, it means that people who have that cancer are, on average, about 50% as likely as people who dont have that cancer to live for at least 5 years after being diagnosed.
Survival Rates By Stage
If youve been diagnosed and your stage has been determined, you may be curious about your outlook. An outlook is based on information compiled from people who have a similar cancer.
Although theyre useful, survival statistics arent definitive. Make sure you discuss your individual outlook with your doctor so you can better understand what it means for you.
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What Can Patients Do To Improve Their Chances
Pancreatic cancer patients who participate in clinical research have better outcomes. Seeing pancreatic cancer specialists, including healthcare professionals who focus on symptom management and supportive care also improves outcomes. And, patients who receive treatment based on their biology can live longer.
For all stages, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network strongly recommends:
- Clinical trials at diagnosis and during every treatment decision
- Genetic testing for inherited mutations as soon as possible after diagnosis and biomarker testing of tumor tissue to help determine the best treatment options
- Getting an opinion from a specialist, a physician who diagnoses and treats a high volume of pancreatic cancer patients
- Symptom management and supportive care, provided early in your diagnosis as well as during and after treatment
Contact PanCAN Patient Services to learn more about these options.