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Pancreatic cancer to be third lead cause of death in EU

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The number of deaths from pancreatic cancer will overtake breast cancer mortality rates in the EU in 2017, a study has found.

The research which has recently been presented at UEG (United European Gastroenterology) Week 2016 sats that pancreatic cancer will become the third leading cause of death from cancer in the EU behind lung and  bowel cancer.

The amount of people dying from pancreatic cancer is increasing in many countries across the EU, estimating that 91,500 deaths will happen due to this type of cancer compared to 91,000 from breast cancer.

Although it is the third biggest cause of death in cancer, the levels of the disease across Europe is low compared to bowel, lung and breast cancer, showing the poor outlook for patients diagnosed with the disease. Unlike many other cancers, the outlook has not changed in the last 40 years.

Research shows that the average five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer across Europe is 5%3 and patients lose 98% of their healthy life expectancy at the point of diagnosis.

Europeans state that they are not very clued up on pancreatic cancer and there is no screening method for the disease.

Ahead of World Pancreatic Cancer Day on November 17, experts are calling for increased awareness of the disease to allow patients to be diagnosed in time for life-saving surgery.

Professor Matthias Löhr, UEG pancreatic cancer specialist, explains, “Pancreatic cancer survival rate is lower than any other cancer. Consequently, it is absolutely vital that patients receive a diagnosis as early as possible to allow for surgery, which is currently the only potential for a cure”.

“Members of the public as well as doctors are therefore advised to increase their knowledge of the signs for pancreatic cancer, which include new-onset diabetes, abdominal and back pain, a change in bowel habits and jaundice” he adds.

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