For over 22 years has provided current, credible, and comprehensive information to those in need.
Cancer Patient’s Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.

94% of all revenue goes towards our programs, with only 6% towards MANAGEMENT AND GENERAL EXPENSES.


African-American Patient Guide
Educational Module

African Americans are at higher risk for pancreatic cancer and with worse outcomes - considerations

(11 of 12 sections)
See table of contents for more!

CLICK HERE for the extended version of this section 

  • PUT your arrow over the underlined words to read their description


The number of African Americans who get pancreatic cancer is 50-90% higher than other groups in the United States. They are more likely to get diagnosed with more advanced stages of pancreatic cancer. They are also less likely to receive surgery, chemotherapy, and supportive (palliative) care.

Possible Explanations

We don’t know why rates of pancreatic cancer are higher for African Americans. Some researchers think this because of things like family history, increased rates of pancreatitis, diet, and obesity. However, these factors alone have not been able to explain why African Americans have higher rates.

One reason why African Americans receive less surgery may be that patients with low coverage or no insurance may not be recommended for surgery as often. There also may be understandable historical distrust of medical providers by African Americans.

Practical Steps and Special Issues

Despite these issues, there are actions that can be taken to make sure that African American patients receive proper care, like…


  • Being an active participant and talking to doctors about treatment options
  • Getting a second opinion
  • Finding doctors from high quality hospitals or groups
  • Seriously considering surgery if it is offered
  • Asking about supportive (palliative) care options

Written by: Jasmine Mitchell, University of California Santa Barbara

Edited by: Dale O’Brien, MD, Cancer Patients Alliance

Formatting and content by: Raewyn O’Haire, AB, Cancer Patients Alliance

Consultant: Neil Atam, University of California Santa Barbara

Top Reference

Pancreatic resection: a key component to reducing racial disparities in pancreatic adenocarcinoma
Click Here

Click Here for the ACS Journal article