Our team has stepped up to Wage Hope at PurpleStride, to help end pancreatic cancer.Will you help us rewrite the future of this disease by making a donation today?
Every dollar that you donate ensures that the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network can continue working to create better outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients and their families. By donating to our team, you are supporting vital efforts to double pancreatic cancer survival by 2020.
Please join us in the fight today.
PANCREATIC CANCER IS ONE OF THE DEADLIEST CANCERS
• In 2016, pancreatic cancer moved from the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. to the third, surpassing breast cancer. • Seventy-one percent of patients die within the first year of diagnosis. • Pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer with a five-year relative survival rate in the single digits, at just 9 percent. • While overall cancer incidence and death rates are declining, the incidence and death rates for pancreatic cancer are increasing. • Pancreatic cancer is projected to move past colorectal cancer to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States around 2020.
PANCREATIC CANCER IS VERY AGGRESSIVE; THERE ARE NO EARLY DETECTION METHODS
• Because the pancreas is located deep within the abdomen, and because pancreatic cancer can progress very quickly from stage I (localized within the pancreas) to stage IV (metastatic disease) in an average of 1.3 years, it is critical to develop early detection tools. • At this time, there are no proven biomarkers, or clues detectable in the blood or other bodily fluids, that could indicate the presence of a pancreatic tumor. • The vast majority of pancreatic cancer cases are diagnosed in late stage. More than half of patients are diagnosed once the disease has metastasized. Only about 9 percent of cases are diagnosed when the disease is still confined within the pancreas. • Symptoms — including abdominal or back pain, weight loss, jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea, diabetes and changes in stool — are often subtle and are generally initially attributed to other less serious and more common conditions. • The cause of the majority of pancreatic cancer cases is unknown. For the few known risk factors (e.g., familial history, smoking, obesity), more research is needed to understand their direct relationship to the disease. The known behavioral factors only impact a minority of pancreatic cancer cases.
TREATMENT OPTIONS ARE EXTREMELY LIMITED; PATIENTS ARE UNDERTREATED
• While surgery (often the Whipple procedure) offers the best chance for survival, fewer than 20 percent of pancreatic cancer cases are diagnosed early enough for surgical intervention. Even with surgery, the disease recurs in approximately 80 percent of these patients, who die within five years of recurrence. • For non-surgical candidates, chemotherapy — possibly with radiation — is typically offered, but is not considered curative. • Since 1974, only four drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to treat pancreatic cancer: gemcitabine (Gemzar®) in 1996, erlotinib (Tarceva®) in 2005, albumin-bound paclitaxel (Abraxane®) in 2013 and irinotecan liposome injection (Onivyde™) in 2015. In 2011, a combination chemotherapy regimen called FOLFIRINOX was found to improve survival of metastatic pancreatic cancer patients. While these new treatments and combinations have recently been shown to extend the lives of pancreatic cancer patients, the improvement is small, and the vast majority of patients still rapidly succumb to their disease.