Cancer Types | Pancreatic Cancer - NFCR

Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is the ninth and tenth most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and men, respectively, in the U.S. It is the fourth deadliest cancer for men and women. It is one of the few cancers for which survival has not improved substantially in over 40 years.

Key Facts

  • An estimated 57,600 new cases of pancreatic cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2020, with 47,050 deaths expected to result from the diagnosis.
  • Pancreatic cancer is expected to become the 2nd leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. by the year 2030.
  • The overall five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is just 9%.
  • Risk factors for developing pancreatic cancer include tobacco use, overweight and obesity, heavy exposure to certain chemicals, family history of the disease, age, chronic or hereditary pancreatitis, and long-standing type 2 diabetes. Individuals with Lynch syndrome and certain other genetic syndromes, as well as BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers, are also at increased risk.
Source: American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts & Figures 2020 and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (2018)
Pancreatic Cancer Location
57600
new cases expected in 2020
47050
deaths expected in 2020
9
% five-year survival rate

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month is recognized in November. To help accelerate cures please make a gift today.

Researchers Working on Pancreatic Cancer

Danny R. Welch, Ph.D.
Danny R. Welch, Ph.D.
NFCR Fellow Dr. Yung-Chi Cheng
Yung-Chi Cheng, Ph.D.
Daniel Von Hoff, M.D
Daniel Von Hoff, M.D

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Pancreatic Cancer: Warnings and Wellness

NFCR Chief Medical Officer Shares His Expertise for Improved Pancreatic Cancer Awareness The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR)’s Dr. Brian Leyland-Jones contributed to the popular online platform Eat This, Not That!’s feature in efforts to spread awareness of one of the most deadly and difficult to detect cancers: 11 Warning Signs of Pancreatic Cancer. Dr. Leyland-Jones’ career spans decades, and has led him to become an authority within the pancreatic cancer-fighting community. Dr. Leyland Jones serves as Board Member and Chief Medical Officer for NFCR, offering his extensive expertise to NFCR’s fundraising missions. Boasting over 100 million readers, Eat This, Not That! publishes expert- and research-backed tips on food, nutrition, and health. Dr. Leyland-Jones’ tips on pancreatic cancer awareness help strengthen the deep catalogue of recipes, diet recommendations, and general wellness tips on the popular online platform. Warning Signs Early detection is crucial for early intervention with pancreatic cancer. The disease has an overall five-year survival rate of just 9% and is likely to rise to become the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. by the year 2030. These facts, coupled with pancreatic cancer’s significant reputation as one of the silent killers, showcase the importance of knowing these 11 warning signs: Blood Clots Ascites Jaundice Sudden Weight Loss Upper Abdominal Pain Depression and Anxiety (Before Diagnosis) Nausea and Vomiting Diabetes Pale Feces and Dark Urine Enlarged Gallbladder or Liver Unexplainable Fatigue Outside of these symptoms, Dr. Leyland-Jones emphasizes the importance of keeping up-to-date on your yearly physicals, stating, “It is very difficult to detect early. For yearly physicals, some people also get PET scans and CT scans. However, the progression is so fast, these kinds of scans would need to be done every six months.” With approximately 60,000 new cases per year, pancreatic cancer will continue to be a significant concern. Know these warning signs and keep up with day-to-day wellness and yearly physicals in order to stay on top of your health!   Did you know that November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month? Subscribe to NFCR social media channels to stay up to date on the latest developments in the fight against pancreatic cancer. You can also visit our donation page to join in our fundraising efforts! Additional Reads You May Enjoy: Thunder God Vine: A Powerful Discovery for Pancreatic Cancer Patients 5 Tips for Eating Healthy While Traveling Coping With Cancer—It’s Different for Everyone Receive our monthly e-newsletter and blogs featuring stories of inspiration, support resources, cancer prevention tips and more. Sign up here. 

Thunder God Vine: A Powerful Discovery for Pancreatic Cancer Patients

With a name as powerful as Thunder God Vine comes great responsibility – and National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR)-funded researcher Dr. Daniel D. Von Hoff has proven that this medicinal plant is up for the challenge.  Dr. Von Hoff is considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on pancreatic cancer.  He and his team began exploring how thunder god vine — an herb used in China for centuries to treat joint pain, swelling, and fever — could be used for cancer patients. The team was overcome with excitement as they discovered a particular compound in this miracle herb can kill cancer cells and potentially improve clinical outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is the ninth and tenth most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and men, respectively, in the United States. It is the fourth deadliest cancer and is one of the few cancers for which survival has not improved substantially in over 40 years. An estimated 57,600 new cases of pancreatic cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year, with 47,050 deaths expected to result from the diagnosis. With little to no groundbreaking discoveries or treatment, pancreatic cancer is expected to become the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States by 2030. The key ingredient of the thunder god vine is called triptolide. Triptolide makes up a molecule called Minnelide, which appears to attack pancreatic cancer cells. It also attacks the tumor’s stroma or outer layer that shields it from the body’s immune system. This allows Minnelide to disrupt ‘super-enhancers,’ strings of DNA that aid the growth and survival of pancreatic cancer cells. The team found that disrupting these super-enhancers attacks the cancer cells and the stroma, which helps accelerate cancer cell death. Thunder god vine is commonly found in China and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years. The approaches that make up traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, tai chi, and herbal products, have been the subjects of many clinical studies and scientific reviews. Researchers have concluded that traditional Chinese medicine may help improve quality of life and certain pain conditions, and it is becoming more and more prevalent in western medicine practices. Today, for example, thunder god vine is used for rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, lupus, psoriasis, fever, amongst other conditions.  This new approach using an old method may provide means for effective treatment options for pancreatic cancer patients, a glimmer of hope that health professionals and patients have long-awaited. To learn more about groundbreaking research undertaken by NFCR-funded researchers, visit our scientist page. Additional Reads You May Enjoy: Controlling the Uncontrollable: HER2 Breast Cancer Propelling the Fight Against Pancreatic Cancer Ancient Wisdom, Modern Cure Stay connected with the cancer community! Receive NFCR’s monthly e-newsletter and blogs featuring stories of inspiration, support resources, cancer prevention tips, and more. Sign up here.