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African-American Patient Guide
Educational Module

Prognosis for
Pancreatic Cancer

(10 of 12 sections)
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About 60,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year in the United States. In the U.S., pancreatic cancer is about the 10th leading cause of cancer, but the third leading cause of death related to cancer.

The average survival rates of patients with pancreatic cancer (specifically adenocarcinoma) are tough. It is important to remember that cancer is different in each patient and each person is unique. The statistics for survival tend to show overall rates, not individual cases.

Pancreatic cancer is a cancer that tends to cause symptoms when it is already in more advanced stages. The median length of survival for untreated advanced pancreatic cancer is about 3.5 months. This number rises to about 8 months with good treatment. It might be even higher now because treatments continue to get better. The five-year survival rate with good treatment is about 11%. However, many people do better than these averages.

Surgery is very important for pancreatic cancer. People who are able to have surgery tend to live longer compared to those who are not able to. The five-year survival rate for patients with pancreatic cancer who receive surgery is 20-25%.

Patients with pancreatic cancer who are diagnosed at an earlier stage tend to live longer. People with locally advanced cancer of the pancreas who receive chemotherapy tend to live for about 6 to 15 months, although this number continues to climb higher.

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
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Click Here for the ACS Journal article