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Pancreatic cancer survival statistics

One-, five- and ten-year survival statistics for pancreatic cancer by age and trends over time are presented here. There are also data by geography and by stage at diagnosis. The ICD code for pancreatic cancer is ICD-10 C25.

The statistics on these pages give an overall picture of survival. Unless otherwise stated, the statistics include all adults diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, at all ages, stages and co-morbidities. The survival time experienced by an individual patient may be much higher or lower, depending on specific patient and tumour characteristics. If you are a patient, you will probably find our CancerHelp pages more relevant and useful.

The latest survival statistics available for pancreatic cancer in England are 2005-2009 (followed up to 2010). Find out why these are the latest statistics available.

One-, five- and ten-year survival

The latest age-standardised relative survival rates for pancreatic cancer in England during 2005-2009 show that 17.4% of men are expected to survive their disease for at least one year, falling to 3.6% surviving five years or more (Table 3.1).1,2 The survival rates for women are similar, with 19.1% expected to survive for one year or more and 3.8% surviving for at least five years. Broadly similar rates have been reported for Wales and Scotland.3,4


Table 3.1: Pancreatic Cancer (C25), Age-Standardised One-, Five- and Ten-Year Relative Survival Rates, Adults (Aged 15-99), England 2005-2009 and England and Wales 2007

Relative Survival (%)
1 Year 5 Year 10 Year
Sex 2005-2009 2005-2009 2007*
Male 17.4 3.6 2.9
Female 19.1 3.8 2.7

Download this table XLS (38KB)

*Ten-year survival rates have been predicted for patients diagnosed in 2007 (using the hybrid approach)

The five-year relative survival rates for pancreatic cancer are the lowest of the 21 most common cancers in England.1 A contributing factor to the low survival rates of pancreatic cancer is that a tumour or cancer in the pancreas may grow without any symptoms at first. This means pancreatic cancer is often advanced when it is first found.5 This is demonstrated by the fact that 47% of cases of pancreatic cancer are emergency presentations.6

section reviewed 11/06/12
section updated 11/06/12

By age

As with nearly all cancers, relative survival for pancreatic cancer is higher in younger men and women, even after taking account of the higher background mortality in older people. The reasons for this are likely to include a combination of better general health, more effective response to treatment and earlier diagnosis in younger people overall. Differences in underlying tumour biology may also play a part for some cancer sites.

The five-year relative survival rates for pancreatic cancer in men in England during 2005-2009 ranged from 12% in 15-49 year olds to 2% in 80-99 year olds (Figure 3.1).1 Relative survival was higher in women for one of the age groups, ranging from 22% in 15-49 year olds to only 1% in 80-99 year olds.

Figure 3.1: Pancreatic cancer (C25), Five-Year Relative Survival Rates by Age, England 2005-2009

surv_5yr_age_pancreas.swf

Download this chart XLS (52KB)

section reviewed 11/06/12
section updated 11/06/12

Trends over time

Unlike the majority of cancers, relative survival for pancreatic cancer has improved very little since the early 1970s. This can generally be attributed to difficulties in diagnosis. Increasing cancer survival rates is a major priority of Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer.7 An outcome of this Strategy is the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI), which is a public sector/third sector partnership between the Department of Health, National Cancer Action Team, and Cancer Research UK.

One-year relative survival rates have been used as an indicator of early diagnosis, since death before one year may be due to the disease being diagnosed at a late stage. In men, one-year relative survival rates for pancreatic cancer increased from 6% in England and Wales during 1971-1975 to 17.4% in England during 2005-2009 (Figure 3.2).1,8-10 In women, one-year relative survival rates increased from 7% to 19.8% during the same time periods, respectively.

Figure 3.2: Pancreatic Cancer (C25), Age-Standardised One-Year Relative Survival Rates, England and Wales 1971-1995, England 1996-2009

surv_1yr_pancreas.swf

Download this chart XLS (55KB)

*Survival rates are for England only from 1996 onwards

While relative survival rates are still influenced by early diagnosis after five years, they are also strongly dependent on the success of treatment. In men, five-year relative survival rates for pancreatic cancer increased from 2% in England and Wales during 1971-1975 to only 3.6% in England during 2005-2009 (Figure 3.3).1,8-10 In women, five-year relative survival rates increased from 2% to 3.8% during the same time periods, respectively.

Figure 3.3: Pancreatic Cancer (C25), Age-Standardised Five-Year Relative Survival Rates, England and Wales 1971-1995, England 1996-2009 

surv_5yr_pancreas.swf

Download this chart XLS (54KB)

*Survival rates are for England only from 1996 onwards

Ten-year relative survival rates for men diagnosed with pancreatic cancer increased from 2% in England and Wales during 1971-1975 to a predicted 2.8% in England in 2007 (Figure 3.4).2,8,11 In women, ten-year relative survival rates increased from 2% to a predicted 2.6% during the same time periods, respectively.

Figure 3.4: Pancreatic Cancer (C25), Age-Standardised Ten-Year Relative Survival Rates, England and Wales 1971-1995 and Predicted 2007, England 1996 to 2000

surv_10yr_pancreas.swf

Download this chart XLS (54KB)

*Survival rates are not age-standardised from 1971-1985
**Ten-year survival rates have been predicted for patients diagnosed in 2007 (using the hybrid approach)

section reviewed 11/06/12
section updated 11/06/12

In Europe

The most recent five-year survival data for 1995-1999 show England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are slightly below the average for Europe (5%), while Wales is around the European average.12 Across the European countries, five-year survival rates range from 2% to 9%. However, as with international incidence estimates, differing data collection practices throughout Europe may contribute to the ranking of individual countries.

section reviewed 11/06/12
section updated 11/06/12

By stage

Median survival following surgical resection for pancreatic cancer is of the order of 11-20 months. The five-year survival ranges from 7-25%.13,14 Patients with irresectable locally advanced disease (Stage III) have a median survival of 6-11 months.15 Patients who have metastatic disease have a median survival of only 2-6 months.16

section reviewed 11/06/12
section updated 11/06/12

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References for pancreatic cancer survival

  1. For data for 2005-2009: Office for National Statistics (ONS). Cancer survival in England: Patients diagnosed 2005-2009 and followed up to 2010. London: ONS; 2011.
  2. For data for 2007: Coleman MP, et al. Research commissioned by Cancer Research UK, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 2010.
  3. Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit (WCISU). Cancer Survival Trends in Wales 1985-2004. Cardiff: WCISU; 2010.
  4. Information Services Division Scotland (ISD Scotland). Cancer Statistics. Cancer of the pancreas. Accessed September 2011.
  5. Zervos EE, Osbourne D, Boe B, et al. Prognostic significance of new onset ascites in patients with pancreatic cancer. World J Surg Oncol 2006;4:16.
  6. National Cancer Intelligence Unit (NCIN). Routes to Diagnosis. London: NCIN; 2010.
  7. Department of Health. Improving outcomes: a strategy for cancer. London: Department of Health; 2011.
  8. For data for 1996-2003: Rachet B, Maringe C, Nur U, et al. Population-based cancer survival trends in England and Wales up to 2007. Lancet Oncol 2009;10:351-369. Age-standardised figures were provided by the author on request.
  9. For data for 1971-1990: Coleman MP, Babb P, Damiecki P, et al. Cancer Survival Trends in England and Wales, 1971-1995: Deprivation and NHS Region. Series SMPS No 61. London: ONS; 1999.
  10. For data for 1991-1995: Office for National Statistics (ONS). Cancer Survival: England and Wales, 1991-2001, twenty major cancers by age group. London: ONS; 2005.
  11. Cancer Research UK. CancerStats report. Survival – England and Wales. London: Cancer Research UK; 2004.
  12. Sant M, Allemani C, Santaquilani M, et al. EUROCARE-4. Survival of cancer patients diagnosed in 1995-1999. Results and commentary. Eur J Cancer 2009;45:931-91.
  13. Northern and Yorkshire Cancer Registry and Information Service (NYCRIS). Key Sites Study: Pancreas Report. Leeds: NYCRIS; 2000.
  14. Richter A, Niedergethmann M, Sturm JW, et al. Long-term results of partial pancreaticoduodenectomy for ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreatic head: 25-year experience. World J Surg 2003;27(3):324-9.
  15. Amikura K, Kobari M, Matsuno S. The time of occurrence of liver metastasis in carcinoma of the pancreas. Int J Pancreatol 1995;17(2):139-46.
  16. Kayahara M, Nagakawa T, Ueno K, et al. An evaluation of radical resection for pancreatic cancer based on the mode of recurrence as determined by autopsy and diagnostic imaging. Cancer 1993;72(7):2118-23.

 

Updated: 3 September 2012