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Pancreatic Cancer Prognosis

A prognosis is a medical opinion as to the likely course and outcome of a disease. Factors that may affect the prognosis for a person with pancreatic cancer include the stage of the disease and whether it can be removed using surgery. Doctors also consider statistics from many other cases when considering a patient's prognosis; however, a pancreatic cancer prognosis is only a prediction -- doctors cannot be absolutely certain about the outcome for a particular patient.

Prognosis for Pancreatic Cancer: An Introduction

People who are facing pancreatic cancer are naturally concerned about what the future holds. Understanding the disease can help patients and their loved ones:
 
 
Many people with the disease want to know their pancreatic cancer prognosis. Therefore, they may ask their doctor for statistics or search for pancreatic cancer statistics on their own.
 

What Is a Prognosis?

A prognosis is a medical opinion as to the likely course and outcome of a disease. In other words, it is the chance that a patient will recover or have a recurrence (return of the cancer). Many factors can affect a person's prognosis, such as:
 
  • The type and location of the cancer
  • The stage of the disease (the extent to which the cancer has metastasized, or spread)
  • Its grade (how abnormal the cancer cells look and how quickly the cancer is likely to grow and spread)
  • The person's age, general health, and response to treatment.
 
When doctors discuss a person's prognosis, they carefully take into consideration all of the factors that could affect that person's disease and treatment, and then try to predict what might happen. Doctors will base this on information researchers have collected over many years. It is important to keep in mind that a prognosis is only a prediction; doctors cannot be absolutely certain about the outcome for a particular patient.
 
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