Pancreatic Cancer: Survival Rates

Table of Contents


Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, with an overall 5-year survival rate of only 8%. It is also difficult to diagnose because it doesn’t have any early warning signs or symptoms. To help people understand their options for treatment and possible outcomes, we’ve put together this guide on pancreatic cancer survival rates by stage:

Stage 1: The survival rate for those with stage 1 pancreatic cancer is 100% for 5 years after diagnosis.

Stage 1 pancreatic cancer is the best stage to be diagnosed with. It has a 100% five-year survival rate, which means that if you have stage 1 pancreatic cancer and receive treatment, there’s a good chance you’ll still be around in five years.

This is because this particular cancer is generally pretty treatable—especially if detected early on.

Stage 2: Patients with stage 2 pancreatic cancer have a 4 year survival rate of 20%.

When it comes to stages of pancreatic cancer, stage 2 is better than stage 3. Stage 2 pancreatic cancer is more common than stage 1. When you have stage 2 pancreatic cancer, your chance of surviving at least five years is 20%. In other words, if 100 people had this disease and were treated with treatment X, 80 would show evidence of being alive five years after diagnosis. For more information about mortality rates by disease and stage, see this Pancreatic Cancer Survival Rates section on our website.

Stage 3: Those diagnosed with stage 3 pancreatic cancer have a 7% chance of reaching 5 years after treatment.

Stage 3: Those diagnosed with stage 3 pancreatic cancer have a 7% chance of reaching 5 years after treatment. Stage 3 is an advanced stage, which means that the cancer has spread to nearby tissues and lymph nodes, but not to distant organs such as the liver or lungs. People may also have symptoms at this stage.

Stage 4: The survival rate for those with metastatic disease is 4%, meaning that only one out of every 25 people will live beyond five years after diagnosis. Metastatic pancreatic cancer refers to any spread past the local area and includes distant organ involvement such as liver or lung metastases (spread). At this stage, pancreatic tumors can be quite large and surgery may be more difficult because there may not be enough healthy tissue left around the tumor for adequate removal without disrupting vital organs such as intestines or kidneys during surgery.

Stage 4: A patient diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer has a 5% chance of living beyond 5 years.

In 2011, the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) TNM staging system was implemented to categorize pancreatic cancer patients. This system uses three stages to determine a patient’s prognosis (the chance of survival). The first two stages are known as localized and regional spread. The third stage is called distant metastasis or advanced disease.

The 5-year survival rate for stage 4 pancreatic cancer is 5%. A patient who has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer has a 5% chance of living beyond five years after their diagnosis.

Pancreatic cancer has been notoriously hard to cure, and it is important to know your options if you are diagnosed.

There are many treatment options available. There are clinical trials that involve accessing pancreatic cancer cells from the patient and then testing different ways of destroying them. These include an injection of acid, heat, and radiation; an infusion of a substance that causes inflammation and makes it harder for cancer cells to grow; or simply removing the entire tumor surgically once it has been identified as benign. In addition to these techniques, there are also many non-surgical treatments that may be used along with surgery or radiation in order to treat patients who have metastasized (spread) their cancer throughout the body (i.e., those who cannot undergo surgery or cannot tolerate surgery).

These include:

  • Chemotherapy – A type of medication that targets rapidly dividing cells (such as those found in tumors). It is usually given through an intravenous drip into a vein in your arm but can also be given orally if your veins are too weak for IV access or if you prefer not having needles inserted into your body. Some common types include gemcitabine, capecitabine, taxanes such as paclitaxel (Taxotere®), Adrucil®/Allodola®/Adrucil-Lipro®, fluorouracil (5FU), irinotecan (Camptosar®), oxaliplatin (Eloxatin®), folfiriomide


Pancreatic cancer is a terrible disease that affects thousands of people every year. While it is sometimes treatable, many people are diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease. This means that they will have less than five years to live if left untreated or unmonitored. It is important for everyone to know their options when it comes time for treatment because there are so many different types available today!

Related articles