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Five-Year Survival for Pancreatic Cancer Has Risen to 13%
  • Posted January 18, 2024

Five-Year Survival for Pancreatic Cancer Has Risen to 13%

Pancreatic cancer is known as a 'silent killer' because it's usually only detected in its later stages.

But there's a glimmer of good news for patients: The five-year survival rate for people with the disease has crept up to 13%, according to 2024 statistics from the American Cancer Society released Wednesday.

That's more than double the 6% five-year survival rate of a decade ago, noted experts at Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN).

The organization credits the improvement to better detection and management of patients with cancers that have not spread beyond the pancreas.

“We have seen better management of people who are considered high risk and better survival of those with localized disease, most likely due to the increased use and improvements in treatments available before [neoadjuvant] and after [adjuvant] surgery,” Lynn Matrisian, PanCAN's chief science officer, said in an an organization news release.

All of this is “good news," said PanCAN President and CEO Julie Fleshman, who added that, "We are seeing more patients being diagnosed at earlier stages and they are living longer."

However, the latest ACS numbers predict that about 66,400 Americans will receive the grim news this year that they have pancreatic cancer. Another 51,750 are expected to die from the illness in 2024.

Both of those numbers reflect a rise in new cases and deaths.

So, despite the uptick in five-year survival, "not enough progress is being made for patients diagnosed with metastatic disease and we need to continue to find better treatment options for those patients," Fleshman said.

Pancreatic cancer also appears to be on the rise among younger women, PanCAN noted. That could be tied to rising obesity rates and changes in racial/ethnic demographics.

"PanCAN's research priorities are to find an early detection strategy and accelerate treatments for [pancreatic cancer] patients. And we are dedicated to increasing awareness of symptoms and risk factors of pancreatic cancer," Matrisian said.

More information

Find out. more about pancreatic cancer treatment at the National Cancer Institute.

SOURCE: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, news release, Jan. 17, 202

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