Worrying report ranks UK pancreatic cancer survival 47th out of 56 countries

According to research published this week, UK pancreatic cancer survival rates trail behind the rest of the world. The data, from 2010-2014, found that just five percent of patients survive beyond five years.

Out of 56 countries analysed, the UK survival rate of 6% is ranked 47th for pancreatic cancer survival.   In comparison, the US survival rate is almost double at 11%.

At Pancreatic Cancer Action, we are calling for urgent action to improve early diagnosis and access to treatments in the UK.

The Research

CONCORD-3, one of the largest reviews of global cancer survival rates, has shown that pancreatic cancer remains the most deadly common cancer in the world.

“Greater international efforts are needed to understand the risk factors for this rapidly lethal cancer,” said co-author Michel Coleman, a researcher at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

The positive news is that cancer survival is increasing across the world but large gaps endure between nations, while some cancers, including pancreatic cancer, remain hard to treat everywhere, according to the review.

Led by Claudia Allemani from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the Concord-3 study marshaled hundreds of experts and more than 300 cancer registries covering 37.5 million cancer cases — three-quarters of all the cancers diagnosed worldwide from 2000 to 2014.

Thirty-one European countries were included, along with 17 from Asia and 13 from Latin America. Only six African countries were included, due to a lack of data.

The implications of the review

“Yet again, we are reminded that much more needs to be done to improve early diagnosis and treatment options in the UK.,” says Ali Stunt, CEO and Founder of Pancreatic Cancer Action.

“Despite the increasingly high rate of pancreatic cancer in the UK, the disease has been chronically underfunded and ignored for decades.  For this reason, it is often referred to as the ‘Cinderella’ cancer.”

“Given that there is currently no screening process available for pancreatic cancer, it is imperative that people can spot the signs and symptoms early enough to make surgery a viable option, in order to secure earlier diagnosis of this deadly disease and improve survival rates.

“We also need the government to take action to increase research funding and launch a national awareness campaign.”

At Pancreatic Cancer Action, we are determined to get more patients diagnosed early and in time for life-saving surgery.  We do this by funding research into early diagnosis, educating medical professionals and raising awareness of signs and symptoms.