It is believed that the number of deaths from pancreatic cancer will overtake breast cancer mortality in the EU in 2017, according to a new study. These findings were recently presented at UEG Week 2016, and mean that pancreatic cancer will become the third leading cause of death from cancer in the EU behind lung and colorectal cancer. Mortality rates for pancreatic cancer are increasing in many countries across the EU and estimated that 91,500 deaths will occur from the disease next year, compared with 91,000 from breast cancer.
Time-linear prediction models were used by the researchers to estimate mortality rates until 2025, when deaths from pancreatic cancer (111,500) across Europe are projected to increase by almost 50% since 2010 (76,000). The study included all countries and show varying increases in pancreatic cancer mortality rates from 20% to a staggering 131% increase over the 15-year period.
Even though being the 3rd biggest cancer killer, the incidence of pancreatic cancer across Europe is relatively low in comparison with colorectal, lung and breast cancer. This gives an extremely poor outlook for patients that are diagnosed with the disease, and unlike other cancers, has not changed in the last 40 years. The median 5-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer across Europe shown by research is 5% and patients lose 98% of their healthy life expectancy at the point of diagnosis. However, 64% of Europeans state they know very little about pancreatic cancer and there is currently no feasible screening method.
On November 17th at the Ahead of World Pancreatic Cancer Day, the experts called for increased awareness of the disease to allow patients to be diagnosed in time for life-saving treatment. A UEG pancreatic cancer specialist, Profession Matthias, explains that pancreatic cancer survival rate is lower than any other cancer and it is vital that patients receive a diagnosis as early as possible to receive treatment. He suggests that patients and doctors increase their knowledge of the signs for pancreatic cancer, which might include new onset of diabetes, abdominal and back pain, a change in bowels and jaundice.
Everyone should be active in being aware of any bodily changes. A sudden change just might indicate something serious that needs immediate attention.
–Dr Fredda Branyon