A pancreatic cancer survival rate refers to the percentage of people who were reported still living after being diagnosed with the cancer about 5 yrs ago.
This disease is one of the deadliest of all cancers and one with the lowest survival rates. According to the American Cancer Society, only 5% of patients with this disease are alive 5 years after the cancer is found.
In the United States, it is estimated that more than 30,000 people are diagnosed with this disease each year. What is surprising is that many people don’t know this and in addition, most of them are not even sure what cancer of the pancreas is. Another little known fact about this disease is that more than 60,000 cases are diagnosed in Europe each year.
The pancreas is a gland behind the stomach that is shaped a wee bit like the shape of a fish. It is six inches long and less than 2 inches wide. It extends across the abdomen. The pancreas has two functions. It breaks down fats and proteins in foods we eat for body absorption. The pancreas also produces hormones to help balance the amount of sugar in the blood.
While cancer of the pancreas can affect anyone, the American Cancer Society has identified several risk factors for this disease:
* Nearly 70 percent of patients with this disease are over 55 years.
* Men are affected more often than women.
* Blacks are more likely to have this disease than whites.
* The risk is higher among smokers.
* There may be a link with the consumption of large amounts of red meat and pork, especially processed meats (like sausage and bacon).
* Very overweight people are 20% more likely to develop this disease.
This type of cancer is a fatal disease and pancreatic cancer survival rate is very poor. The cancer of the pancreas is the fourth most common cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States. Over 98% of patients with cancer of the pancreas die.
Diagnosis of this cancer at an early stage is very difficult because the symptoms in the early stages are vague and diagnostic procedures are not very reliable in diagnosing the disease at an early stage. The diagnosis is usually made at an advanced stage of the disease, making it very difficult to treat. Complete tumor resection is also not curative and pancreatic cancer survival rate is only 1 amongst 20 people.
Recent studies and clinical trials are offering promising results but at the moment, curative resection remains the only hope to improve the over-all pancreatic cancer survival rate.