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What is the survival rate with pancreatic cancer?

Pancreatic cancer is a difficult disease. Even for surgically resectable (and therefore potentially curable) tumors, the risk of cancer recurrence and subsequent death remains high. Only about 20% of patients undergoing a Whipple procedure for potentially curable pancreatic cancer live 5 years, with the rest surviving on average less than 2 years. For patients with incurable (locally advanced unresectable or metastatic) pancreatic cancer, survival is even shorter; typically it is measured in months. With metastatic disease (stage IV), the average survival is just over 6 months. The American Cancer Society statistics suggest that for all stages of pancreatic cancer, the 1-year survival rate is 20%, mortality rate is 80% while the 5-year survival rate is 6% with a mortality rate of 94%. Doctors around the world continue to study this terrible disease and strive to improve treatments, but progress has been difficult to achieve.

Return to Pancreatic Cancer

See what others are saying

Comment from: Wife, Female (Caregiver) Published: June 19

My husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years ago. He had symptoms two years prior to his diagnosis, of backache, fullness, stomachache and light headed ness, faintness. He has had chemotherapy and radiation, went into remission for 6 months but it returned. He is going into his 2nd year of Gemzar and the cancerous tumor continues to shrink. The chemotherapy is tough on him and his quality of life. They say he is in the elite 10 survival rate, but we need different treatment options! I fear it will be the chemotherapy that kills him. By the way, his markers have never shown cancer.

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Comment from: t, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 31

I have lesions in the body of my pancreas, also a larger lesion on my spleen too. I have had no treatment or surgeries. I am worried about what I should do.

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Comment from: Zookeeper., 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 10

I am currently diagnosed with stage 1A endocrine pancreatic cancer. I have read about early treatment in the form of surgery (the Whipple procedure). However, because my two spots on body and tail are small (mm not cm) I would like to know if not doing any type of treatment for now would be more harmful in the long run. In the past year I have had surgery, chemo and radiation for cancer in my tonsil. The chemo and radiation really took a toll on me and I was a strong individual prior to the treatment. I have been a lifelong smoker, but quit after cancer was discovered in my tonsil.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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