People who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are likely to find their treatment options limited and their prognosis somewhat grim. With a five-year survival rate of less than 10 percent, this form of cancer is considered one of the deadliest. While much research is currently under way to help improve survival rates, breakthroughs have been few and far between in relation to this particular form of cancer.

Hoping to gain a better treatment option for those diagnosed with locally advanced pancreatic cancer, researchers recently looked at the benefits of two different options. One involved the use of chemotherapy only to treat pancreatic cancer. The second was a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The study in question involved several hundred patients who were separated into randomized groups. At a median following up of 36 months, researchers found no significant survival benefit in one group versus the other.

The American Cancer Society estimates that some 53,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year alone. An estimated 40,000 people will die from the disease. With very vague, often unnoticeable, symptoms at its onset, this form of cancer is very hard to detect in its earlier phases. This, in turn, can make providing early interventions nearly impossible. These two things have combined to give pancreatic cancer one of the lowest survival rates. What’s more, this particular form of cancer does not have a simple early screening protocol like mammograms for breast cancer.

People who are at risk for pancreatic cancer are urged to discuss this condition with their healthcare providers. Risk factors include diabetes, chronic pancreatitis and family history, among other concerns. Although no widespread early screening procedure exists, doctors do have some screening options at their disposal. If the condition is suspected, it is important to seek out medical screening. Early intervention can improve survival chances.