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Prognosis of pancreatic cancer

In 2014, there were an estimated 64,668 people living with pancreas cancer in the United States.The earlier pancreatic cancer is caught, the better chance a person has of surviving five years after being diagnosed. For pancreatic cancer, 9.4% are diagnosed at the local stage and the 5-year survival for localized pancreatic cancer is 29.3%. In part because it is difficult to detect early, the average survival time from pancreatic cancer is low. Because survival is poor, the population distribution of people who die of pancreatic cancer is similar to that of people who are diagnosed with the disease. Pancreatic cancer deaths is highest among people aged 75-84 and is the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Death rates have been stable over 2005-2014 (2).

After the diagnosis is made, the median survival is about 6 months, but shorter if there is liver metastasis. Median survival in operated patients is higher, usually 15-20 months.

It is emphasized that cancer in adjacent organs, distal bile ducts, Ampulla of Vater, and the duodenum, can more commonly be operated for cure and have a significantly better prognosis. 



Five-year relative survival for patients with pancreatic cancer, in percent, during the diagnosis period 1974–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway


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