A 20% survival rate by 2030: The role UW researchers are playing in the fight against pancreatic cancer

MADISON, Wis.– By the time many people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it’s ‘too late.’ The disease is not curable, only manageable.

This year, that is starting to change: For the first time ever, the five-year survival rate reached double-digits and is now 10%.

But there’s still a ways to go: 52% of the nearly 60,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed in 2020 were already stage four.

First-of-its-kind research is happening right now at Madison’s Carbone Cancer Center to advance treatment options and discover earlier detection methods.

One is for people in their 70’s and 80’s, studying what types of chemotherapy regimens are best tolerated by older patients with Stage IV.

“We know regular treatment can be toxic for them,” explained Dr. Monica Patel, GI medical oncologist at the UW’s Carbone Cancer Center.

The second is examining whether a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy can improve patients’ quality and quantity of life.

“I think there’s absolutely reason to have hope,” said Dr. Patel. “The way we’re treating patients and the potential treatment options are expanding.”

Pancreatic cancer research non-profits like PanCAN help fund medical research. PanCAN hopes its research will help double the 5-year survival rate for the disease by 2030.

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