What is the survival rate for pancreatic cancer?
Cancer survival rates are usually discussed in terms of 5-year relative survival, which refers to the proportion of patients still alive five years after diagnosis. Keep in mind that statistics like these are based on large groups of people and cannot predict what might happen with an individual patient. The most current national data is from patients diagnosed in 2015-2019, which doesn’t reflect the impact of recent treatment advances.
In the United States, national data shows that 11.5% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are alive after five years. Pancreatic cancer survival remains poor due to a number of factors, some of which include the lack of a reliable screening test for the general population and a high number of people with late-stage disease at diagnosis.
Survival is dramatically different based on the stage of the disease as well. The National Cancer Institute records survival rates using these very broad categories:
• Localized. In patients with early-stage cancers, that are confined to the primary site, 5-year survival is 43.9%.
• Regional. For patients with disease that has spread to regional lymph nodes at the time of diagnosis, survival is 14.7%.
• Distant disease. Among patients with disease that has spread to distant body areas at the time of diagnosis, survival is 3.1%.
Learn more pancreatic cancer survival statistics from the National Cancer Institute.
In addition, survival differs dramatically depending on the type of pancreatic cancer. For example, survival for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors is significantly better than pancreatic ductal adenosarcoma. Recent treatment advances have led to increased survival when all treatment options — including clinical trials — are properly considered.