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Warning on pancreatic cancer risks

Monday February 22nd 2021

Europe faces an increasing toll of deaths of women from pancreatic cancer – although the UK is doing better at containing the disease, experts warn today.

The increase may be triggered by growing rates of obesity and is due to happen regardless of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest findings of a major analysis, published in the Annals of Oncology.

Experts predict that deaths from most cancers will continue to fall in spite of restrictions on treatment caused by the pandemic.

According to the analysis, 47,300 men will die from pancreatic cancer across the EU and the UK this year. Death rates for women will be 75% of those for men – but will have increased by 0.6% since 2015 across the EU. Only in the UK will there be a decline in the death rate – by 4% - but it remains the country’s fourth most deadly cancer for women.

Researcher Professor Carlo La Vecchia, of the University of Milan, said: “Among the major cancers, pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common and remains the only one showing no overall fall in death rates over the past three decades in Europe in both sexes. It is important that governments and policymakers provide adequate resources for the prevention, early diagnosis and management of pancreatic cancer in order to improve these trends in the near future.

“If the cancer is detected early, it is easier to treat successfully, but most cases are advanced by the time of diagnosis. Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, controlling weight and, hence, diabetes are the main ways we know to help to prevent the disease, but they only account for a proportion of cases. New, targeted drugs are leading to some improvement in treatment, but it's difficult to quantify their potential impact at present.”

G. Carioli et al. European cancer mortality predictions for the year 2021 with focus on pancreatic and female lung cancer. Annals of Oncology 22 February 2021


Tags: Cancer | Diet & Food | Europe | Internal Medicine | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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