Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, as well as around the world, striking both men and women nearly equally. With the worst survival rate of all cancers, the National Cancer Institute estimates that approximately 42,000 people will be diagnosed with this disease within the next twelve months. Of these, 35,000 will not survive the year and only 5% of the remaining 7,000 will be alive five years later. This silent killer gives few early warning signs and mortality rates for pancreatic cancer have not improved much in the past 30 years. It is our hope that Ron's Run for the Roses, now entering its fourth year, will raise awareness and funding for the important research that is critical to fight this lethal disease.
The lifetime risk of developing pancreatic cancer is about 1 in 71 (1.41%). This is about the same for men and women. American Cancer Society
- An estimated 44,030 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the U.S., and over 37,660 will die from the disease.
- Pancreatic cancer is one of the few cancers for which survival has not improved substantially over nearly 40 years.
- Pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States.
- Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all major cancers. 94% of pancreatic cancer patients will die within five years of diagnosis – only 6% will survive more than five years. 74% of patients die within the first year of diagnosis.
- The average life expectancy after diagnosis with metastatic disease is just three to six months.
- Few risk factors for developing pancreatic cancer are defined. Family history of the disease, smoking, age, and diabetes are risk factors.
- Pancreatic cancer may cause only vague symptoms that could indicate many different conditions within the abdomen or gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms include pain (usually abdominal or back pain), weight loss, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), loss of appetite, nausea, changes in stool, and diabetes.
- Symptoms include pain (usually abdominal or back pain), weight loss, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), loss of appetite, nausea, changes in stool, and diabetes.
- Treatment options for pancreatic cancer are limited. Surgical removal of the tumor is possible in less than 20% of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Chemotherapy or chemotherapy together with radiation is typically offered to patients whose tumors cannot be removed surgically. Only three drugs are FDA‐approved for the treatment of pancreatic cancer: fluorouracil (5‐FU), gemcitabine (Gemzar®), and erlotinib (Tarceva®).
- Pancreatic cancer is a leading cause of cancer death largely because there are no detection tools to diagnose the disease in its early stages when surgical removal of the tumor is still possible.
- The National Cancer Institute (NCI) spent an estimated $97.1 million on pancreatic cancer research in 2010. This represented a mere 2% of the NCI's approximate $5 billion cancer research budget for that year.