Pancreatic cancer cases and deaths predicted to rise significantly by 2035
A recent study by Cancer Research UK* has found that for all cancers, the number of cancer cases and deaths will increase by 2035 by 42% (cases) and 30% (deaths).
However, what we do see is the rate of incidence for all cancers combined falling in women by 0.11% and in men by 0.03% by 2035 and, for most cancers, the mortality rate is decreasing too. (The age standardised rates describe cancer incidence and mortality with reference to a standard population and accounts for such things as differences in age and composition of the population).
One of the cancers that is bucking that trend in terms of reduced rates of incidence is pancreatic cancer. Instead of seeing rates falling, the rate of incidence of the number of cases is predicted to be up by nearly 5% in women and nearly 7% in men between 2014 and 2035.
The rates of incidence for cancers such as bowel, bladder and lung are predicted to reduce significantly over the same period.
So what does this mean? Well the number of actual cases of pancreatic cancer (which is a different number than the rate at which they occur) is likely to top 15,000 by 2035 and the numbers of actual people dying is predicted to be over 13,000. See the tables below:
That’s a predicted increase of nearly three per cent per year in the number of cases and over two per cent per year for the numbers of people dying from pancreatic cancer.
With an increasing population size and an ageing population, it is not surprising to see that the number of people affected by cancer is increasing over time. What is concerning is that the rate of incidence and mortality for other cancers is predicted to decline by 2035 and in some cases significantly. One of the exceptions is pancreatic cancer.
And, while the rate of mortality (death) is influenced by the incidence (cases) rate, other factors will influence these numbers such as how successful the healthcare system is in diagnosing and treating the cancer in question.
We know that pancreatic cancer is diagnosed late, when it has already spread to other parts of the body. This, and the fact that we have few treatment options available to patients, means that we will only continue to see increasing death rates from pancreatic cancer to 2035 and beyond. This is unless we see noticeable improvements in diagnosis and treatment which will only happen when we get greater focus on and funding for the disease.
Oct 24th 2016
*All data from: Smittenaar, Petersen & Moitt (2016) Cancer incidence and mortality projections in the UK until 2035. Brit.Journal of Cancer 1-9 DOI:10.1038/bjc.2016.304