Practitioner 2011; 255 (1742):21-25

Diagnosing and managing pancreatic cancer

07 Aug 2011Pais-up subscribers

Adenocarcinoma of the pancreas is one of the top ten leading causes of cancer deaths and in the UK approximately 8,000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year. The incidence is similar in men and women and rises with age. Rates increase significantly in people aged 45 years and over and around three-quarters of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are over the age of 65. Treatment options include resectional surgery, which is the only chance of cure from the disease; and palliative stenting, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Overall, the long-term prognosis of the disease is poor with a one-year survival rate of approximately 10-20%. For non-metastatic disease, median survival is six to ten months, although for those with metastatic disease at presentation median survival is only three to six months. Both one- and five-year survival rates for pancreatic cancer in the UK are lower than the European average. Despite improvements in imaging, surgical techniques and chemotherapy, overall survival has not improved appreciably in the past few decades.  [With external links to current evidence and summaries]

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