What are the Rates of Pancreatic Cancer Survival?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Several abdominal organs, including the pancreas.
Several abdominal organs, including the pancreas.

Pancreatic cancer is undoubtedly one of the most difficult cancers for the human body to fight. It is marked by its extremely low rate of survival, though this rate can and hopefully will change in the future. Nevertheless, statistics as of the late 2000s for pancreatic cancer survival at the five-year point suggest that only about 5% are still alive, and these 5% may still be fighting the cancer. This percentage is slightly difficult to understand because it accounts for all cases, and not all cases are the same.

Smoking is one of the major risk factors for pancreatic cancer.
Smoking is one of the major risk factors for pancreatic cancer.

It might be better to understand that pancreatic cancer survival rate is greatly improved when people get early diagnosis of this disease. In fact, people who catch this cancer early, when it still only in the pancreas, are likely to have a greater than 16% chance of surviving at 5 years. The trouble with this statistic is that so few cases of pancreatic cancer, less than 10%, get diagnosed when the cancer is in this stage.

Pancreatic cancer is marked by a low rate of survival.
Pancreatic cancer is marked by a low rate of survival.

There aren’t that many symptoms of early pancreatic cancer and they may be easily ignored. Symptoms people should note are pain/discomfort in the upper stomach and possibly back, perhaps evidence of jaundice, depression, and weight loss. People most at risk include men, usually over 60, and those who smoke or who have pancreatitis may be more at risk.

The pancreas gland plays a vital role in digestion and in insulin and glucagon production.
The pancreas gland plays a vital role in digestion and in insulin and glucagon production.

Even with these risk factors and symptoms not all people notice them or see their doctors right away. This allows the aggressive cancer to move into the lymph nodes around the pancreas, though the cancer still remains in the same general area. With those who are diagnosed when the disease is still in the same region, pancreatic cancer survival rate is 7%.

The tendency of the cancer to spread elsewhere very quickly is huge. Cancer from the pancreas may leap to any number of different organs. Once this abnormal cell behavior occurs, pancreatic cancer survival tends to become less than 2%, a significant drop.

The overall pancreatic cancer survival statistics have resonance in the medical/scientific community. There are continually new experiments and new trials offered to attempt to increase survival rate or find a complete cure. While these experiments have not, as yet, proven successful, there remains hope, in addition to dire need, that significant advances will be found through research and experimentation.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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    • Several abdominal organs, including the pancreas.
      Several abdominal organs, including the pancreas.
    • Smoking is one of the major risk factors for pancreatic cancer.
      By: Denys Rudyi
      Smoking is one of the major risk factors for pancreatic cancer.
    • Pancreatic cancer is marked by a low rate of survival.
      By: Sebastian Kaulitzki
      Pancreatic cancer is marked by a low rate of survival.
    • The pancreas gland plays a vital role in digestion and in insulin and glucagon production.
      By: pixdesign123
      The pancreas gland plays a vital role in digestion and in insulin and glucagon production.