Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive and fast developing disease, which kills its victims within five years after diagnosis. The survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients living over 5 years is only 4 percent.
With a very low survival rate of 4 percent, pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer death in the US, as well as across the world.
The pancreas contains two types of glands: exocrine glands that helps break down fats and proteins, and endocrine glands that make hormones like insulin to regulate sugar in the blood. Steve Jobs suffered from the tumor in endocrine glands, which are among the rarer forms of pancreatic cancer reported in just five percent of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
This cancer can spread quickly and are rarely detected at an early stage. This is because the tumor is located below the stomach in the abdomen, thus making it difficult to be detected. In addition, the symptoms of pancreatic cancer can be vague and non-specific, such as abdominal pain and weight loss.
Standard treatments for pancreatic cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Advanced stages of pancreatic cancer can not always be treated with the aim of completely curing the disease. However, combination of treatments may help extend patients’ lives by preventing the cancer cells from spreading.