UK Pancreatic Cancer Prognosis and Survival Rates

The pancreatic cancer prognosis and survival rates in the table below reflect that pancreatic cancer prognosis is poor and are attributable to the fact that pancreatic cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage where the cancer has progressed to a point where surgical removal is impossible.

However,  patients who are diagnosed in time for surgery do considerably better and have a > 30% chance of surviving beyond five years after diagnosis 1

This is why we at Pancreatic Cancer Action are campaigning for earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and developing educational and awareness programmes for the public and medical communities so more people can be diagnosed in time for surgery – currently the only potential for a cure.

UK Relative Pancreatic Cancer Survival Rates (1 & 5 years):

Survival table Jan_2016

What is relative survival?

Relative survival is an estimate of the observed survival divided by the expected probability of survival in the general population. This can be thought of as a measure of the net survival expectation after contracting cancer, or the probability of survival from cancer in the absence of other causes of death.

Sources:

England2; Wales3; Scotland4; Northern Ireland5

Diagnosis periods:

England: figures from those diagnosed between 2008-2012 & followed up to 2013

Wales: figures from those diagnosed between 2008-2012; 5-yr figures from those diagnosed between 2004-2008

Scotland: figures from those diagnosed between 2007 and 2011

N.Ireland: 1-yr figures from those diagnosed between 2009-2013. 5-yr figures from those diagnosed between 2004-2008

Comparisons with Europe:

One Year Survival

The UK has some of the lowest one-year survival rates in Europe, with the UK average half that of the best performing countries, including France and Belgium.

Low one-year survival is a proxy for later stage disease at diagnosis.

Graph showing 1 year survival rates per EU country

Five-year survival:

Five year survival in the UK countries is nearly half that of our European neighbours.

EU pancreatic cancer 5 year survival by member state

Pancreatic Cancer has the lowest survival of all 21 common cancers:

Graph showing trends in cancer survival by tumour site


  1. Ghaneh et al., (2008) neoadjuvant and adjuvant strategies for pancreatic cancer EJSO 34 297-305 

  2. Office for National Statistics Statistical Bulletin: Cancer Survival in England patients diagnosed 2008-2012 followed up to 2013 accessed 31/03/2015 

  3. Welsh Cancer Intelligence & Surveillance Unit Cancer in Wales  

  4. ISD Scotland  

  5. Northern Ireland Cancer Registry Cancer Statistics, Pancreas  

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