There is an increase in the survival rates of pancreatic cancer from the past 15 years. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer is still considered as, for the most part, an incurable condition. Not surprisingly, the prognosis for pancreatic cancer is very tough.
If you have pancreatic cancer, don’t be saddened. Each cancer is different. The numbers in survival rate is an aggregate, and should not be applied to everyone. In this article, we will tell you about the prognosis for pancreas cancer, staging of pancreas cancer and survival rates. Let’s begin with the prognosis.
Prognosis for Pancreatic Cancer
Prognosis for pancreatic cancer depends greatly on the stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis. The more advanced the stage is, the more fatal it is. In many cases, the cancer is detected in its later stage. In these cases, cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. Thus, making it more difficult to treat or worse, making it incurable altogether. This is why regular check-ups, talking about your concern about your overall health as well as pancreatic cancer symptoms are very important.
Staging of Pancreas Cancer
The staging helps the doctor and cancer care team understand how advanced the pancreas cancer is. The stages are also used to determine which treatments and therapy are the best for the situation as well as the patient’s future outlook.
There are 4 stages of pancreas cancer: 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4. These stages are determined by 3 factors. These factors are the size of the tumor, the proximity of cancer to lymph nodes and its progression.
- Size of the Tumor
The larger the size of the tumor, the more advanced the stage of cancer. And the larger the size of the tumor is, the less chance it is to be cured by surgery. The size of the tumor may affect the survival rates as well. That being said, some large tumors can be removed and some patients who have tumors larger than 5 cm appear to be cured by resection.
- Proximity of the Cancer to Lymph Nodes
Early stage cancer is more likely to have less proximity to lymph nodes. Conversely, the more advanced the stage, the more likely cancer to have more proximity to lymph nodes.
- Progression of the Cancer
The progression of cancer means how far it has spread inside the body. Stage 0 means that the cancer is not invasive and it has not spread beyond the pancreas. On the other hand, stage 4 means that cancer has been spread beyond pancreas to other parts of the body. For instance, blood vessels, nearby tissues or other organs.
Since in most cases pancreatic cancer is diagnosed in its later stage (where surgery can’t cure cancer), the survival rates are low. With all stages combined, the one-year survival rate of pancreatic cancer is 20% while five-year survival rate is 7%, according to the American Cancer Society. However, if surgery is done, the life expectancy of a patient is about 23 to 36 months with 10% five-year survival rate.
Those are what you need to know about the prognosis for pancreatic cancer. If you have any concern regarding pancreatic cancer, please consult your doctor.