Pancreatic Cancer (cont.)
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Pancreatic Cancer Prevention and Prognosis
No known preventative measure exists for pancreatic cancer; however, minimizing certain risk factors is important. Risk factors that can be controlled include limiting smoking and excessive alcohol intake.
Pancreatic Cancer Prognosis
Despite recent advances in the surgical and medical treatment of pancreatic cancer, the prognosis associated with this disease is still relatively poor.
For people who have pancreatic cancers completely removed by surgery, the probability of being alive in 5 years is 20% to 30%. If lymph nodes were found to contain cancer at the time of surgery, then the probability of being alive in 5 years decreases to 10%.
The addition of chemotherapy after surgical removal of the pancreatic cancer is likely to increase this probability of being alive in 5 years, but only by about 10%.
For people who have unresectable locally advanced pancreatic cancer, surviving beyond 3 years is rare. For those with metastatic pancreatic cancer who have symptoms of weight loss or pain, the chance of surviving 1 year is less than 20% for those undergoing chemotherapy and less than 5% for those who choose not to receive chemotherapy.
These statistics underscore the importance of clinical trials attempting to discover more effective therapies for this disease. People with pancreatic cancers are encouraged to ask their doctor about the possibility of participating in a clinical trial that is well-suited for them.
Timothy Kuo, MD
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