Overview of Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is currently the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimated that in 2013, there were 45,220 new cases of pancreatic cancer, and 38,460 deaths because of it. The incidence of pancreatic cancer has been increasing since 2004; however, the NCI recently reported that for the first time since 2004, the number of deaths per year has gradually started to decline. One of the major challenges associated with pancreatic cancer is that the condition often goes undetected for a long period of time because signs and symptoms seldom occur until advanced stages. By the time symptoms occur, cancer cells are likely to have spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body, often preventing surgical removal of tumors.
is a major focus of cancer research, and much progress is being made in understanding the risks for pancreatic cancer, diagnosing and treating it, and the genetics behind the condition. Pancreatic cancer research funding has increased almost 400% since 2000, when only $22 million was spent on research, to $99.5 million in 2011. Research findings and advancements are being published on an ongoing basis, helping to advance medical knowledge and improve patient quality of life.