Cancer Research UK says it has tripled its investment in pancreatic cancer research, as the number of cases and deaths from the disease continues its upward trend.
The charity has streamed £18 million into pancreatic cancer research - including improving diagnosis and treatment - in the 2015/16 financial year, compared to £6 million spent on the area in the prior year, as it strives to tackle rising rates and poor survival.
Only one in every 100 pancreatic cancer patients in England and Wales are alive 10 years after diagnosis, and there has been no improvement in this figure since the 1970s, while rates of the disease have leapt nine percent in the UK in the decade, CR UK notes.
In 2014, 4,800 women were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 4,400 died from the disease, rising from 3,900 cases and 3,700 deaths 10 years earlier. Among men, 4,800 were diagnosed and 4,400 died, up from 3,700 cases and 3,400 deaths in 2004.
Pancreatic cancer also has the lowest proportion of cases diagnosed at an early stage, with just 21 percent detected at stage I/II, the charity said, restricting the chances for treatment success.
"In 2014 we prioritised increased investment in pancreatic, lung, and oesophageal cancers and brain tumours in our research strategy as survival rates in these cancers remain appallingly low, and they are extremely difficult to treat when diagnosed at a late stage," said Sir Harpal Kumar, CR UK's chief executive.
"Pancreatic cancer is an inherently aggressive disease and it's often diagnosed late, which puts it a step ahead of us when we come to treat it," added Professor Andrew Biankin, who is leading research efforts on the disease at at the Cancer Research UK Glasgow Centre. "We need to be more ambitious and hit the disease hard and fast with new approaches".