Pancreatic cancer has a poor prognosis for several reasons. There is no reliable early screening test for pancreatic cancer.
It is typically a fast-spreading cancer that invades other organs and is difficult to diagnose in the early stages when it is most operable. That’s because pancreatic cancer is either without symptoms until its advanced stage or the symptoms mirror that of other diseases or conditions, such as jaundice, stomach pain, fatigue or weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and unintentional weight loss.
The five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer approaches 25 percent if the tumors are surgically removed while they are still small and have not spread to the lymph nodes, reports Johns Hopkins. However since most pancreatic cancers are found late, surgery is not an option. Inoperable cancer is treated with radiation and chemotherapy.
Your doctor will use cancer staging to learn the extent of the disease.