Pancreatic Cancer UK is calling for greater investment in research funding for pancreatic cancer as new data reveals that just three percent of patients with the most common form will survive beyond five years.
Ninety-five percent of people with pancreatic cancer are diagnosed with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), but because of the way that data is published true survival rates for this type of the disease were previously not known.
This is because information about PDAC was previously published together with that for another type called pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PNET), which has a far higher survival. Therefore the true survival for PDAC appeared better than it really is; the most recent statistics for England having shown a five-year survival rate of less than seven percent of patients.
Research commissioned by the charity and carried out by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine determined that in England, just three percent of people with PDAC will live for five years or more, versus a ten times higher five-year survival (34 percent) for patients with PNET.
“For the first time, our study has revealed the truly outrageous survival for the vast majority of people with pancreatic cancer. This survival is completely unacceptable and it simply cannot be ignored,” said Diana Jupp, chief executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK.
“Due to increased research investment, in recent years we have seen outstanding progress in other cancers such as breast and prostate, and a shocking lack of progress for pancreatic. But together, we can turn this around and transform the future for people affected. Now we are armed with a clear picture of this disease overall, it must be confronted as an emergency by Governments, research funders, and health commissioners alike.”
The charity says research investment must “vastly increase” to £25 million a year by 2022, and also called for new ways of diagnosing the disease earlier and the publication of disease treatment guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
The charity is also calling for data on pancreatic cancer to be broken down by type in addition to the overall figures about the disease to give a more accurate picture of the disease.