Q:

How serious is pancreatic cancer, and what is the life expectancy?

A:

Quick Answer

Pancreatic cancer is extremely serious; the disease has the highest mortality rate of all major cancers. As of 2015, 74 percent of patients die within the first year of diagnosis, while 94 percent of patients die within five years of diagnosis, notes Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

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Full Answer

As of 2015, the one-year survival rate for all stages of pancreatic cancer combined is 20 percent, and the five-year rate is 6 percent. In cases where surgical removal of cancerous tissue can be performed, the average survival rate is 18 to 20 months, and the overall five-year survival rate is about 10 percent. In cases where the tumor can be completely removed and the cancer has not spread to lymph nodes, the rate can go as high as 20 to 25 percent, explains Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

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