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Posted on 15th February 2017

More people will die from Pancreatic cancer than breast cancer

Currently breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK, effecting 55,000 women a year. However, a lack of new treatments means pancreatic cancer will overtake it within a decade.

Figures from cancer charities show that just 5 per cent of patients with pancreatic cancer live for five years, compared with 87 per cent of those with a breast tumour.

New drugs and improved screening have helped increase survival rates in breast cancer patients.

Pancreatic cancer is the 11th most common type of cancer, yet it has the worst survival rates. It currently effects 9,600 people per year.

With vague symptoms, such as stomach pain, weight loss and jaundice, and the fact that pancreas is buried in the abdomen, it makes it very difficult to spot.

Four in five cases are detected after the optimum time for surgery.

Having an operation to remove the tumour is the only lifesaving treatment available for this cancer.

Personalised drugs and immunotherapy drugs are not available to treat pancreatic cancer, meaning chemotherapy is still the main treatment.

Pancreatic Cancer UK have projections that say it will be responsible for 11,300 deaths by 2026, which if predictions are correct will put it above breast cancer which will have fallen to 11,200 deaths a year.

Although on the rise, pancreatic cancer is not the deadliest. Lung cancer claims 35,900 lives and bowel cancer will remain in second place a decade from now, with reporting showing a rise from 16,000 to 17,400 deaths.

Alex Ford, chief executive of the charity, said: “This dreadful disease is set to become one of the big four cancer killers in less than 10 years because we have not made the vital breakthroughs in early diagnosis methods that are so desperately needed to allow patients and families more precious time together.

Sarah Toule, head of health information at the World Cancer Research Fund, said: “Pancreatic cancer has one of the worst survival rates, so being able to reduce the number of people developing it in the first place is vital.

“Our research has shown that about one in six cases of pancreatic cancer could be prevented if we were all a healthy weight.”

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