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Is pancreatic cancer serious?

Ajay K. Sahajpal, MD
Transplant Surgery

Yes. Pancreatic cancer is the 4th deadliest cancer that one can be diagnosed with. The only proven cure for pancreatic cancer is complete resection of the pancreas mass found in the early stages of the disease process. Unfortunately, discovery of the mass at the time of presentation of symptoms is late stage. Upon symptomatic presentation, 15-20% of patients are eligible for surgical removal. Even with mass removal, prognosis is dismal with a 5 year survival rate of approximately 25-30% for disease not involving lymph nodes, approximately 10% for disease involving lymph nodes. On a positive note, there is some improvement in select cases with the involvement of neoadjuvant therapies and multi-disciplinary approach to fighting this disease.

Pancreatic cancer is a serious disease. Adenocarcinoma, the most common type of pancreatic cancer, has a survival rate of about 2 percent after five years. Only about 10 to 20 percent of diagnosed cases of adenocarcinoma can be treated surgically (by removing all or part of the pancreas as well as nearby tissues), and the survival rate of these surgeries is only 15 to 20 percent after five years.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.