Newly-published statistics from the Office for National Statistics shows an increase in pancreatic cancer survival rates in England. The five-year survival rate for the disease has moved from 5 to 7 per cent in England in just one year. This is very encouraging news for all those affected by pancreatic cancer.
“At first glance, this may not seem like a substantial increase. However, when the increased incidence of pancreatic cancer diagnoses is considered, it reveals a significant increase in the actual number of people surviving the disease,” says Ali Stunt, chief executive of Pancreatic Cancer Action. “This small but critical shift reveals that we are making progress and are extremely grateful all those who support our work.”
The new statistics revealed that 364 more people per year on average surviving 5 years for those diagnosed between 2011-2015 (538) compared to 2004 – 2008 (174), an increase of 200% in that period.
Along with modest increases in one-year survival, Ali attributes improvements in early diagnosis as being directly responsible for this encouraging trend. “Patients diagnosed early, and in time for surgery, have a significantly higher chance of surviving pancreatic cancer.” says Ali. “We need to accelerate our efforts to ensure that survival rates continue to increase.”
While there are successes to celebrate, there is much work to be done for patients today, and for those who will be diagnosed in the coming years. Seven per cent five-year survival is still pitifully low and much more needs to be done in terms of focus and investment into pancreatic cancer so we can build on these modest improvements. Despite this good news, UK pancreatic cancer survival rates continue to lag behind most of the developed world and this must change.
Pancreatic Cancer Action is determined to get more patients diagnosed early and in time for life-saving surgery, by funding research into early diagnosis, educating medical professionals and raising awareness of signs and symptoms.
For more information on pancreatic cancer and Pancreatic Cancer Action, visit www.panact.org