Pancreatic Cancer: Statistics

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

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year. You will read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.

This year, an estimated 53,670 adults (27,970 men and 25,700 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

It is estimated that 43,090 deaths (22,300 men and 20,790 women) from this disease will occur this year. Pancreatic cancer is the ninth most common cancer in women and the fourth 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.

The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The 5-year survival rate of people with pancreatic cancer is 8%. However, survival rates are based on many factors, including the specific stage of disease.

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.

If the cancer is detected at an early stage when surgical removal of the tumor is possible, the 5-year survival rate is 29%. Only 9% of people are diagnosed at this stage. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 11%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the five-year survival rate is 3%. More than half of people are diagnosed at this advanced stage.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with pancreatic cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of people with this cancer in the United States. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. So the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available over the past year. People should talk with their doctor if they have questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2017.

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. 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.