Pancreatic Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 12/2015

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many people are diagnosed with this type of cancer each year and some general survival information. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

This year, an estimated 48,960 adults (24,840 men and 24,120 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It is estimated that 40,560 deaths (20,710 men and 19,850 women) from this disease will occur this year. Pancreatic cancer is the 8th most common cancer in women and the 4th leading cause of cancer death in men and women. As explained in the Overview, most pancreatic cancers are exocrine adenocarcinoma, and these statistics are for that type of pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is often difficult to diagnose. This is because there are no specific, cost-effective screening tests that can easily and reliably find early-stage pancreatic cancer in people who have no symptoms. This means it is often not found until later stages when the cancer can no longer be removed with surgery and has spread from the pancreas to other parts of the body.

The overall 1-year survival rate is the percentage of people who survive at least 1 year after the cancer is found. The 1-year survival rate of people with pancreatic cancer is 28%, and the 5-year survival rate is 7%.

If the cancer is detected at an early stage when surgical removal of the tumor is possible, the 5-year survival rate is about 26%. If the cancer has spread to the surrounding organs or tissue (regional spread), the 5-year survival rate is 10%. If the cancer has spread to parts of the body far away from the pancreas (distant spread), the 5-year survival rate is 2%.

Cancer survival statistics should be interpreted with caution. These estimates are based on data from thousands of people with this type of cancer in the United States each year, so the actual risk for a particular individual may be different. It is not possible to tell a person how long he or she will live with pancreatic cancer. Because the survival statistics are measured in multi-year intervals, they may not represent advances made in the treatment or diagnosis of this cancer. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2015.

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations and it offers drawings of body parts often affected by this disease. Or, use the menu on the left side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.