Tumours Grow Secretly
Some types of cancer hide deep inside the body, not revealing themselves, until they have grown big.
Only around 7 % of patients with pancreas cancer survive for more than five years after being diagnosed. The unusually high death rate is particularly due to the fact that the disease is not spotted, until it has been developing for years.
Early cancer diagnosis is extremely important, as early stage cancer cells are typically more vulnerable to treatment. Some cancer types are quite easy to detect early, as they cause pronounced symptoms or are easy to identify by simple medical examination. Prostate cancer is usually spotted early, and 99 % of the patients survive for more than five years. In the case of breast cancer, routine screening in Scandinavia has caused the death rate to fall by about 30 %.
Other types of cancer such as pancreas cancer only cause feeble symptoms such as stomach pain and poor appetite early in the course of the disease. Usually, doctors will not suspect cancer, as the symptoms could easily have been caused by other, more common diseases. Moreover, doctors are unable to make quick pancreas cancer routine checks, as the cancer is hiding deep inside the body.