Every day in 2021, 166 Americans will find out they have pancreatic cancer.
That’s 60,430 people expected to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in this country this year. This is evident from the American Cancer Society (ACS) report on cancer data and numbers, released today.
This corresponds to an increase of 5% compared to the estimate of the previous year.
The report also says the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer remains at 10%, the same rate that hit double digits only last year.
When interpreting the survival rate given in this year’s Facts & Figures, it should be noted that the data represent patients diagnosed between 2010 and 2016, followed by 2017. We do not know exactly how the patients diagnosed today fare either individually or collectively can. However, we are confident that our efforts will continue to improve and extend patients’ lives.
“We are grateful to ACS for collecting, analyzing, and publishing this data each year,” said Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, President and CEO of PanCAN. “But we know these aren’t just statistics. These numbers represent our friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors. “
PanCAN’s vision is to create a world where all pancreatic cancer patients will thrive – including people who already have the disease and people who have not yet been diagnosed. Our PanCAN Patient Services team is there for everyone affected by pancreatic cancer, from patients and caregivers to family members and healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat patients with pancreatic cancer.
Where we are today
2020 was a year like no other that we have experienced before. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on all aspects of society – including cancer diagnoses and deaths – remains to be seen.
But even in the middle of the pandemic, there is hope.
PanCAN is committed to providing reliable, personalized, free information and resources to patients, families and healthcare professionals. And even during a pandemic, thanks to you – our dedicated donors and fundraisers – we were able to offer our community uninterrupted support and services.
One of these key resources is PanCAN’s Know Your Tumor® precision medicine service, which allows patients and their healthcare teams to conduct tests to uncover their unique biology. This information can serve as a guide to personalized patient care options that have been shown to help patients live longer.
“We are very proud that our program has shown, for the first time, a clear survival benefit for a precision medicine approach for patients with pancreatic cancer,” said Fleshman.
“The main takeaway from these findings is that patients don’t know if there are treatments that match their biology unless they’re tested. We and other organizations strongly encourage all pancreatic cancer patients to have biomarker tests of their tumor tissue and genetic testing for inherited mutations in order to identify the best treatment options for them. “
Patients who are aware of all treatment options – including standards of care, biology-based treatments, and clinical trials – are one way to improve the current 10% survival rate.
Where do we go
To further increase the survival rate of pancreatic cancer, we need to learn how to diagnose the disease earlier and treat better.
PanCAN is committed to addressing both challenges through our large-scale clinical initiatives made possible by our generous donors and supporters.
PanCAN’s Precision PromiseSM, which opened for patient enrollment in 2020, is working to develop new treatments for pancreatic cancer faster and at lower cost than standard clinical trials.
Eligible metastatic pancreatic cancer patients can enroll at locations in the United States. In addition to testing experimental therapies and combinations, Precision Promise will also evaluate supportive care interventions to define best practices. Supportive care helps maintain and improve the quality of life of patients, which can lead to longer survival.
PanCAN will not only work towards better treatment options and quality of life, but will also present its latest project, an early detection initiative, this year.
PanCAN’s screening initiative will determine whether people with a new diagnosis of diabetes would benefit from screening tests for pancreatic cancer, among other clinical features. The aim is to diagnose the disease at an early stage – when the tumor can be surgically removed – in patients screened by the study.
A longer-term goal of the study will be to partner with the National Cancer Institute to identify blood-based biomarkers that can help identify which people are at greatest risk of developing or already suffering from pancreatic cancer.
“PanCAN’s Precision Promise and Early Detection Initiative aims to transform the way pancreatic cancer is detected, diagnosed, treated and managed now and in the future,” said Fleshman.
“Working with our amazing volunteers, advocates, donors, and the health and research communities, we are committed to improving the lives of all those affected by this disease and are here to support the more than 60,000 people who experience it Year pancreatic cancer is diagnosed in our country. “