Pancreatic Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Lineagotica Editorial Board, 01/2019

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year. You will also 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 56,770 adults (29,940 men and 26,830 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The disease causes approximately 3% of all cancers. Incidence rates are 25% higher in black people than in white people.

It is estimated that 45,750 deaths (23,800 men and 21,950 women) from this disease will occur this year. Pancreatic cancer is the ninth most common cancer in women and the tenth most common cancer in men. It is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in men and women. It accounts for 7% of all cancer deaths. As explained in the Introduction, most pancreatic cancers (93%) are exocrine adenocarcinoma.

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 for people with pancreatic cancer is 9%. Survival rates are based on many factors, including the specific stage of disease when it is diagnosed.

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 34%. About 10% of people are diagnosed at this stage. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs, the 5-year survival rate is 12%. For the 52% of people who are diagnosed after the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 3%.

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 for less than 5 years. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's (ACS) publications, Cancer Facts & Figures 2019 and Cancer Facts & Figures 2018, and the ACS website (January 2019).

The next section in this guide is Medical IllustrationsIt offers drawings of body parts often affected by pancreatic cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.