Pancreas cancer survival rate


Pancreas cancer, also known as pancreatic cancer and cancer of the pancreas, remains one of the most deadly cancers known to modern medicine. It has some of the most dismal survival rates of any cancer, and thus far known treatment modalities have not proven to be very effective, especially in treating later-stage disease.

Incidence and mortality from pancreatic cancer

In the United States, there are approximately 43,000 new diagnoses of pancreas cancer made each year, and each year about 36,800 men and women succumb to the disease.

The median age at diagnosis for cancer of the pancreas is 72. The disease is extraordinarily rare among people under the age of 44 (representing about 2,6% of all cases annually), while the age group that is most at risk for this disease are those people between the ages of 75 and 84, who represent 28.6% of all diagnoses. This is followed closely by people between 65 and 74, who represent about one quarter of all diagnoses.

The median age at death for pancreas cancer is 73, with a small majority of people between ages 75 and 84 representing almost 31% of deaths from this disease.

Pancreas cancer survival rates by stage

As mentioned earlier, cancer of the pancreas is one of the deadliest cancers known to modern medicine. Even when discovered in early stages, the prognosis for most patients is rather poor. That said, far more often than not, pancreatic cancer is not discovered until it is in late-stage and has metastasized throughout the body. The following lists the extent to which the cancer is known to have spread, followed by what's known as a 5-year survival relative percentage—this number represents the percentage of of people diagnosed with pancreas cancer who are expected to be alive 5 years after diagnosis at each disease stage:

  • -- Localized disease: 21.5%
  • -- Regional disease: 8.6%
  • -- Metastatic disease: 1.8%
  • -- Stage unknown: 4.2%

In other words, even when the disease is discovered in its earliest stages, only one out of five patients are expected to survive for five years or more. Further, less than 2% of patients who are diagnosed with advanced pancreas cancer are expected to live five years following diagnosis. This grim figure is among the lowest across all known cancers, lower than metastatic liver cancer (4.1%) and even lung cancer (3.6%).


National Cancer Institute SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Cancer of the pancreas


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