The odds of surviving cancer have improved for many varieties of the disease, but have remained virtually unchained in 40 years for pancreatic cancer, which typically kills those it strikes within 12 months.
A new study by Cancer Research U.K. found that pancreatic cancer survival is the lowest of the 21 most common forms of the disease.
Today only about 3 percent of pancreatic cancer patients survive for at least five years — just a fraction more than the 2 percent who survived that long in the early 1970s.
For all other cancers, half of patients now survive at least twice that long. But most cases of pancreatic cancer go undetected until it is too late. And with the lack of effective tests and treatments for the disease, the majority of patients still die within a year.
“It’s shocking that so many patients are still losing their lives to pancreatic cancer, which is why we’ve made it a priority to ignite a new wave of research that will see the disease detected earlier and much needed treatments getting to patients sooner,” said Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive.
“Overall, more than half of all cancer patients now survive at least a decade, which is testament to the power of research to transform people’s lives. But disappointingly, we are nowhere near that level with pancreas cancer, and we won’t stop until we can bring those kinds of results to all patients, regardless of their cancer type.”
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