It is estimated that approximately 64,050 individuals (33,130 men and 30,920 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2023, and approximately 50,550 individuals (26,620 men and 23,930 women) will die from the disease.1,2 According to a recent study, it is predicted that the number of deaths attributed to pancreatic cancer will surpass colorectal cancer deaths before 2030–moving it from the third to the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.3 November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, a time set aside to help people learn more about the disease and to support those who are affected. How much do you know about pancreatic cancer?
Pancreatic cancer is a relatively rare malignancy, accounting for approximately 3% of all new cancer cases in the United States and approximately 7% of all cancer deaths.1 The disease can be challenging to diagnose due to the lack of validated and specific screening tests for detection in patients who are asymptomatic. Furthermore, individuals with pancreatic cancer frequently do not have easily identifiable symptoms in the early stages of the disease. This means that the disease is often not found until later stages when it can no longer be removed with surgery and/or it has spread to other parts of the body.1,2 Typically, at the time of diagnosis, only 12% of patients have early-stage disease, whereas 52% have distant metastasis.2 The overall 5-year relative survival rate for pancreatic cancer is 44% for localized disease, 15% for regional disease, and 3% for distant disease.2 Public awareness of pancreatic cancer needs to remain a priority to improve survival and quality of life.