Leading Nonprofit Highlights the Importance of Early Detection on World Pancreatic Cancer Day

For Full Survey Results, click HERE

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (November 17, 2022) – A new survey commissioned by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) found that most adults (83%) are unaware of the signs or symptoms of pancreatic cancer—one of the deadliest diseases that has no standard early detection test and limited treatment options. The survey also found that older adults are least likely to believe they possess this knowledge—troubling news given the fact that 90% of patients diagnosed with the disease are ages 55 and older.

Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States and is on track to become the second leading cause. The five-year survival rate is just 11%. The disease is typically diagnosed late when it has spread. With no standard early detection test, it is important to recognize the common signs and symptoms, especially for those individuals with a family history and other risk factors of the disease. This may lead to earlier diagnosis, providing more treatment options such as surgery.

The survey, conducted by an independent research firm, included online interviews with 1,045 respondents in early October to determine whether U.S. adults are aware of the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer and to identify those signs and symptoms. Another key finding was that fewer than half identified the most common symptoms of pancreatic cancer— abdominal or back pain, weight loss/loss of appetite, and digestive problems.

On World Pancreatic Cancer Day, November 17, PanCAN is educating the public about these and other common symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), a change in stool (oily or watery) and new onset diabetes by providing a free, downloadable conversation guide. PanCAN is encouraging anyone who may experience these symptoms, especially older Americans, to download and complete this guide and bring it to their healthcare provider for a discussion.

“Pancreatic cancer symptoms are vague and can be confused with many other abdominal or gastrointestinal issues. Understanding these symptoms along with certain risk factors and your own family history can provide confidence,” said Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, president and CEO of PanCAN. “We know it can be difficult speaking to your doctor about pancreatic cancer, so we want to empower everyone to be their best health advocate with this new tool.”

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and PanCAN wants the public to get involved in the fight against pancreatic cancer. All month long, PanCAN is sharing inspiring stories which highlight the urgent need for more research and asking that people donate to PanCAN to support pancreatic cancer patients and their families, honoring those we’ve lost, giving hope to patients fighting now and changing the course of pancreatic cancer for everyone in the future.

PanCAN leads the way in accelerating progress for this disease by funding leading-edge research that is getting us closer to new discoveries. In the past two decades, PanCAN has invested $174 million in groundbreaking research. This past year alone, PanCAN awarded more than $10.5 million in research grants as part of the largest-ever, single year total research investment of $25 million. The overall research investment includes funding more than 200 grants cumulatively to scientists across the country and large-scale research initiatives such as PanCAN’s Precision Promise SM clinical trial, which seeks to accelerate the approval of new treatment options for pancreatic cancer patients and PanCAN’s Early Detection Initiative, with a goal of developing a strategy to diagnose pancreatic cancer early when surgery is still possible.

People can support the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network by visiting pancan.org. They can also participate in a free, virtual event today, on World Pancreatic Cancer Day (Nov. 17), when survivors, caregivers, and researchers will bring to life some of the incredible stories about the impact pancreatic cancer research and PanCAN has made on their lives. To register for free, go to pancan.org/WPCD2022.

About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) leads the way in accelerating critical progress for pancreatic cancer patients. PanCAN takes bold action by funding life-saving research, providing personalized patient services and creating a community of supporters and volunteers who will stop at nothing to create a world in which all pancreatic cancer patients will thrive.