2020 Cancer Statistics Released

January 8th, 2020

The American Cancer Society just published, in the journal “CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians,” the latest cancer statistics in the United States (https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/caac.21590). The authors report that “In 2020, 1,806,590 new cancer cases and 606,520 cancer deaths are projected to occur in the United States. The cancer death rate rose until 1991, then fell continuously through 2017, resulting in an overall decline of 29% that translates into an estimated 2.9 million fewer cancer deaths than would have occurred if peak rates had persisted.”
The authors estimate that in 2020 approximately 57,600 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and 47,050 will die from pancreatic cancer. In a hopeful sign, the five-year relative survival rate for patients with pancreatic cancer is 9%, better, but still way too low!
The report highlights the importance of smoking cessation, weight control and early detection in reducing cancer deaths. For patients with pancreatic cancer, the study highlights the importance of early detection. Patients with localized disease had a 37% five-year survival, patients with regional disease a five-year survival rate of 12% and patients with distant disease a five-year survival rate of only 3%.
We should all be encouraged by the many lives saved with the remarkable decline in overall cancer rates. The study does, however, painfully highlight the work that needs to be done fighting pancreatic cancer. New approaches to early detection, and new therapies are sorely needed.