Pancreatic cancer deaths more than double in 3 decades


  • Dawn O'Shea
  • Univadis Medical News
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Globally, the number of deaths, incident cases and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) caused by pancreatic cancer more than doubled between 1990 and 2017, according to a new research published in the Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology and presented at the 2019 United European Gastroenterology conference.

The international study, carried out by the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2017 Pancreatic Cancer Collaborators, identified 448,000 incident cases of pancreatic cancer globally in 2017, of which 232,000 (51.9%) were in males. The age-standardised incidence rate was 5.0 per 100,000 person-years in 1990 and increased to 5.7 per 100,000 in 2017.

There was a 2.3-times increase in the number of deaths for both sexes, from 196,000 in 1990 to 441,000 in 2017. Similarly, there was a 2.1-times increase in DALYs due to pancreatic cancer, increasing from 4.4 million to 9.1 million.

In 2017, pancreatic cancer deaths were primarily attributable to smoking (21.1%), high fasting plasma glucose (8.9%) and high body mass index (6.2%).

The authors warn that the increase in incidence of pancreatic cancer is likely to continue as the population ages. They call for prevention strategies which focus on modifiable risk factors and say screening programmes for early detection and more effective treatment strategies are needed.