National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation Presents

An Introductory Guide to Learn About Pancreatic Cancer

A beginner's guide to bring understanding about pancreatic cancer to caregivers, people at high risk and people who are newly diagnosed.

Although considered rare, pancreatic cancer may touch your life more than you realize. Get the latest information on risk factors, screening, diagnosis, treatment, complementary therapies, survivorship, and more.

Why Should I learn About Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic Cancer causes 7% of cancer-related deaths in the United States. This type of cancer has one of the lowest five-year survival rates of any major cancer, at only 10% combined. Sadly, many patients receive diagnoses too late. Distant cancer has a 5-year survivability of 3%. This means cancer has spread into other areas of the body.

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for pancreatic cancer in the United States for 2022 are:

  • About 62,210 people (32,970 men and 29,240 women) will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
  • About 49,830 people (25,970 men and 23,860 women) will die of pancreatic cancer.
National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation Logo

How Does the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation Help People Understand Pancreatic Cancer?

We believe that we simply must do better. We work to bring awareness and funding to pancreatic cancer research, testing, and therapy initiatives. The National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation hosts awareness and fundraising events across the United States in support of these efforts.

We provide up to date resources and education through our blogs and social media content. We tell the stories of patients who have fought pancreatic cancer. You can read their stories in Our Warriors section of our website. The NPCF maintains a list of memorials as a way of showing solidarity and support to further our mission and vision.

Our mission is to provide unwavering support to families impacted by pancreatic cancer. The NPCF provides advocacy, resource sharing, and financial assistance to pancreatic cancer patients in need.

What Are the Benefits of Learning About Pancreatic Cancer?

The signs and symptoms of this disease make it one of the hardest to diagnose. These symptoms are common to other digestive ailments. Thus making it easy to misdiagnose. Drug therapy is the prescribed treatment for many of these issues.

The prescribed treatment of gastric issues tends to focus on masking symptoms. Imaging tests are ordered only after drug therapy has proven insufficient. This current protocol can significantly delay diagnosis until the cancer has spread and becomes inoperable.

As of right now, there is no formal protocol for pancreatic cancer screening due to the expensive and invasive nature of testing.

Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve survivability beyond 5 years. The hardest part is getting the diagnosis.

About The Introductory Guide to Pancreatic Cancer

Knowing about risk factors and the signs and symptoms can help someone at risk get testing and diagnosis sooner. It is our intention to help educate people who may be at high risk to be able to work with their caregivers. We want to help people navigate the current healthcare system.

We will cover the following topics in this introductory guide. We hope it helps people have more understanding of the disease and its diagnosis.

What You Will Learn

This guide will help you understand what pancreatic cancer is and how it can appear in other organs.

You will learn about the signs and symptoms and why it's so difficult to diagnose early.

You will learn about the Risk Factors so you know what you can control and what you can't in your daily life to minimize your risk.

You will Learn about testing so that if you feel you are at high risk you can more successfully navigate the current healthcare system.

You will learn about the standard treatments of pancreatic cancer and why it is so important that we push for better diagnosis options and protocols to be available.



Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the pancreas.



Having an understanding of what pancreatic cancer is can help you make better health decisions.



Knowing the signs and symptoms are key to getting a diagnosis. Due to the general nature of the symptoms. This is especially important if you have symptoms that are not resolved with drug therapy.



Risk factors are the key to getting testing. Typically pancreatic cancer is often missed and labled as other digestive disorders.



Treatment for pancreatic cancer is generally done at the same time as testing and diagnostics. Knowing how testing and treatment are done can help you make informed decisions.

Although most diagnostics are done with imaging technology, the only true way to know is through biopsy or testing a tissue sample.

The content within the About Pancreatic Cancer section was researched via the American Cancer Society and The National Cancer Institute resources.

The information and services provided by the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation are for informational purposes only. The information and services are not intended to be substitutes for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation does not recommend nor endorse any specific physicians, products, or treatments even though they may be mentioned on this site.

Updated 1/25/2022