Pancreatic cancer now a common cancer

Sunday, September 17, 2023
PanKind leads the advocacy voice for Australians affected by pancreatic cancer

Data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)[i] estimates that more Australians than ever before will be claimed by pancreatic cancer, a disease that is now, for the first time, acknowledged to be a common cancer.

Pancreatic cancer has a devastatingly low five-year survival rate of only 12.5%. The disease is predicted to claim more lives than breast cancer this year (an estimated 3,669 people) and has the lowest survival rate of all common cancers. Over 4500 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, and 80 per cent of patients will die within 12 months[ii].

“The deadly outcomes in pancreatic cancer result in limited visibility and reduced public awareness, and consequently, many people do not realise that pancreatic cancer is now a common cancer,” says Michelle Stewart, CEO of PanKind, The Australian Pancreatic Cancer Foundation. “In contrast, more high-profile cancers experience survival rates of over 90% while for pancreatic cancer the survival rate is only 12.5%, which drops alarmingly to just 6.8% for people who live in regional Australia[iii],” continued Ms Stewart. “With the disease now acknowledged to be a common cancer, there has never been a more critical time to call for increased focus and funding.”

10 Australians a day are expected to be lost to pancreatic cancer in 2023 - this figure has never been higher.

Key findings from PanKind’s 2021 Consumer Awareness Survey found only 1 in 10 Australians are aware that pancreatic cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in Australia.

In addition, the majority of Australians (53%) are not aware of the signs or symptoms of pancreatic cancer. Professor Chris Baggoley AO, the former Australian Chief Medical Officer, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2019, and says “This data shows that the urgency to make rapid progress in diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer has heightened."

Since 2010, PanKind has invested over $12 million into pancreatic cancer research at Australia’s top research institutions. $1.5 million alone has been allocated to the PanKind Early Detection Initiative, reflecting our commitment to early diagnosis, and enhancing survival rates and quality of life for Australians diagnosed with the disease.

Read recent media coverage:

Common cancer media coverage in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age
Common cancer media coverage on Yahoo News

[i] Cancer data in Australia, How are pancreatic cancer rates changing? - Australian Institute of Health and Welfare ( Accessed 6 September 2023

[ii] Data?

[iii] national-pancreatic-cancer-roadmap-consultation-submission-27112020.pdf (

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