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Pancreatic cancer deaths to overtake breast cancer

Posted by: Policy and campaigning 10 November 2016

This week, it has been reported that the number of deaths from pancreatic cancer will overtake breast cancer death rates in the EU next year.

The findings of the study were presented at UEG (United European Gastroenterology) Week 2016 in Vienna. The study found that pancreatic cancer would become the third leading cause of death from cancer in the EU behind lung and colorectal cancer.

The new figures said that pancreatic cancer death rates were increasing in many countries across the EU. It is estimated that 91,500 people will die from the disease in the EU next year, compared with 91,000 from breast cancer.

EU cancer stats - pancreatic cancer overtaking breast

Responding to the new figures, Kevin Armstrong, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Pancreatic Cancer UK, said:

“These new figures are very worrying. We already know that just five per cent of people with pancreatic cancer will live for five or more years after diagnosis, and this shocking survival rate has barely improved in the last 40 years. In that time, we have seen a vast improvement in the numbers of people surviving other cancers. Yet over the last decade the disease has only received 1 per cent of the cancer research budget, and there are very few treatments.

“We hope that these new figures will act as a wake-up call to MPs, GPs and other healthcare professionals, researchers, patients and families alike to join us in taking on pancreatic cancer together. Through our Key to Survival campaign, we are calling for increased research investment and urgent reform of the way cancer drugs are approved by NICE, so new treatments are more likely to be given the go-ahead.

“It is also vital that people with pancreatic cancer are made aware of clinical trials in their area – we know that currently, less than five per cent of people diagnosed each year are taking part in a trial, compared to an average of 18 per cent of cancer patients overall. People with the disease simply must be given the chance of spending more precious time with their loved ones.”