What is the pancreas? The pancreas produces digestive enzymes that help the body use and store energy while also regulating blood sugar levels. When abnormal cells develop in the pancreas and grow out of control, they can create a tumor.

The cause of most pancreatic cancers is unknown and symptoms are usually subtle, often attributed to less serious medical conditions. However, early detection is vital. Patients diagnosed in time for surgery are more likely to live five years and beyond. Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest of all cancers – five-year survival rates are typically only in the single digits.

Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all major cancers.

Just 2-10 percent of those diagnosed survive five years.

On World Pancreatic Cancer Day, an estimated 985 people across the globe will die from pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is the 7th most common cause of cancer-related death in men and women across the world.

It is the 4th leading cause of cancer-death in men and women combined in more developed countries.

Pancreatic cancer is the 12th most common cancer in men and women around the world.

It is estimated that by 2020, this figure will increase to 418,000 new cases diagnosed globally.

Fifty-five percent of pancreatic cancer cases were diagnosed in more developed countries in 2012. The highest incidence of pancreatic cancer was in North America and Europe; the lowest incidence was in Africa and Asia.

Studies show that death rates for pancreatic cancer are increasing in the United States (in both sexes) and Europe (in women), while death rates are declining for most other cancers.

5 Things Everyone
Should Know

The pancreas lies behind the stomach and in front of the spine. It works to help the body use and store energy from food by producing hormones to control blood sugar levels and digestive enzymes to break down food.

Pancreatic cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the pancreas grow out of control, forming a mass of tissue called a tumor.

Early diagnosis is key: patients who are diagnosed in time for surgery have a much higher likelihood of surviving five years.

Symptoms – including abdominal or back pain, weight loss, jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea, changes in stool, and diabetes – are often subtle and are generally initially attributed to other less serious and more common conditions.

The cause of the majority of pancreatic cancer cases is unknown. For the few known risk factors (e.g., familial history, smoking, obesity, age), more research is needed to understand their direct relationship to the disease.