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Pancreatic Cancer Survival Rates

When looking at survival rates for pancreatic cancer, it's important to know that the numbers relate to the percentage of people with the disease who remain alive for a certain period after their diagnosis. In most cases, statistics refer to five-year survival rates. The survival rates discussed in this article are based on the relative survival rate, which measures the survival of cancer patients in comparison to the general population. The overall five-year relative survival rate for 1995-2001 was 4.6 percent.

Pancreatic Cancer Survival Rates: An Introduction

Pancreatic cancer survival rates indicate the percentage of people who survive the disease for a specific period of time after their diagnosis. Often, statistics refer to the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer, which refers to the percentage of people who remain alive five years after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis. This includes patients who have few or no signs or symptoms of pancreatic cancer, are free of disease, or are receiving treatment for pancreatic cancer.
Survival rates are based on large groups of people; they cannot be used to predict what will happen to a particular patient. It is important to note that no two patients are exactly alike, and pancreatic cancer treatment and responses to treatment vary greatly from patient to patient.

Factors Affecting Survival Rates for Pancreatic Cancer

In general, the survival rate will depend on:
  • Whether or not the tumor can be removed by surgery
  • The stage of the cancer (the size of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread outside the pancreas to nearby tissues or lymph nodes or to other places in the body)
  • The patient's general health
  • Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred (come back).
Pancreatic cancer can be controlled only if it is found before it has spread and only if it can be removed by surgery. If the cancer has spread, palliative treatment can improve the patient's quality of life by controlling the symptoms and complication; however, palliative treatment cannot cure the disease.
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