Frieda Wiley, PharmD, BCGP, is a writer and pharmacist.
Why pancreatic cancer death rates are still so high.
The 9th most common cancer in women and the 10th most common cancer in men, pancreatic cancer also falls among the deadliest cancers. The disease is frequently diagnosed in its final stages, resulting in its high mortality rate.
Patients can expect an approximate 34% 5-year survival rate when the cancer diagnosed in its early stages; however, early diagnosis accounts for roughly 10% of the total diagnoses. For this select population, surgical intervention is typically the treatment of choice, as surgeons are normally able to resect the entire tumor. Once the cancer has metastasized to surrounding tissue, the 5-year survival rate falls to approximately 12%. For those whose cancer has spread to tissues far from its point of origin, the 5-year survival rate plummets to 3%. Sadly, more than half of the patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer fall into the latter group.
Many of the risk factors for pancreatic cancer are similar to that of other cancers and chronic health conditions, while other may be unique. These include: