Pancreatic cancer is projected to surpass breast cancer this year as the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and is anticipated to become the second by 2020. It’s one of the deadliest forms of cancers. Only one in four pancreatic cancer patients will live longer than a year with the disease, and the five-year relative survival rate is just 8 percent.
In 2014, an estimated 46,420 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States, and approximately 39,590 will die from the disease.
Pancreatic cancer is often called the “silent killer” because there’s no reliable screening test for the disease and its elusive symptoms often aren’t apparent until the disease has spread. Symptoms include pain that develops in the stomach or back, jaundice and weight loss.
While pancreatic cancer ranks among the deadliest of cancers, funding for research has lagged behind. In 2013 funding from the National Cancer Institute:
• Breast cancer, responsible for 39,620 deaths, received $559.2 million in research funding.
• Prostate cancer, responsible for 29,720 deaths, received $255.6 million in research funding.
• Pancreatic cancer, responsible for 38,460 deaths, received $101.9 million in research funding.
If you or someone you know is facing pancreatic cancer, help is available. Following are some excellent organizations that provide information, resources and support:
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network https://www.pancan.org/
Lustgarten Foundation https://www.lustgarten.org/