The Yomiuri Shimbun The three-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer, which is difficult to detect at an early stage, is the lowest of any body part at 15.1 percent, the National Cancer Center (NCC) has said.
The center released figures on three-year survival rates for the first time on Tuesday. The rate for pancreatic cancer reflects the need for new approaches to difficult-to-treat cancers, such as by developing novel treatments.
Generally, five-year survival rates are the yardstick used to measure cancer recovery. However, older data does not reflect the cutting edge of medical practice.
The center calculated three-year rates based on new data from about 310,000 patients diagnosed in 2011 at 268 regional network cancer hospitals and other institutions.
The results, which were adjusted to eliminate the influence of such factors as non-cancer deaths, showed an overall average of 71.3 percent.
By body part, prostate and breast cancer had high rates at 99.0 percent and 95.2 percent, respectively. Esophageal and lung cancer had relatively low rates at 52.0 percent and 49.4 percent, respectively.
5-year rates also released
In response to demands from patient advocacy groups, five-year survival rates for stomach and four other major cancers by hospital and stage were also released by the center for the first time.
While there were differences between hospitals, an NCC representative said the figures “should be referenced while remembering that they do not reflect the superiority or inferiority of treatment.”
Five-year survival rates were calculated based on data from about 500,000 patients diagnosed in 2008-09 at 251 regional network cancer hospitals and other institutions.
Figures were published for 230 hospitals, with some declining to release their results. Data was given for five major cancers (colon, stomach, lung, breast and liver) and by stage of progression (1 to 4).
Regarding lung cancer, the National Cancer Center Hospital had a five-year survival rate of 85.5 percent for stage 1 and 10.3 percent for stage 4, with an overall rate of 60.6 percent.
At the Cancer Institute Hospital, the rate for stage 1 lung cancer was 84.2 percent, for stage 4 was 4.5 percent, and the overall rate was 52.2%.