In Canada, an estimated 6,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year. Prognosis for these cancers is very poor: recurrence and metastasis are common, and diagnosis is almost always made in advanced stages of the disease. At 8 per cent, pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer type with a five-year net survival rate in the single digits.
There are several types of pancreatic cancer. The most common type develops in the pancreatic duct and is known as ductal adenocarcinoma. Rare types of pancreatic cancer include adenosquamous carcinoma and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours. Early detection, tumour location and access to clinical trials can make a difference for pancreatic cancer patients, allowing them to receive treatments that can improve prognosis and quality of life.
Today, the lack of early detection tests, ineffective treatments and high mortality rates make pancreatic cancer a pressing health issue in Canada. It is also an underfunded area of cancer research and by 2030 pancreatic cancer rates are projected to double.
Our Research Strategy
Given these challenges, the Terry Fox Research Institute has launched a groundbreaking project that matches pancreatic cancer patients with appropriate treatments based on the genetic profile of tumours.
In 2019/20, roughly 7 per cent of the money invested by the TFRI supported pancreatic cancer research. This added up to a total investment of nearly $1.5 million.*
To allocate its resources, the Institute has international experts evaluate the excellence and the potential for impact of all its research projects. This approach distinguishes our research investment strategy from all others in Canada and allows donors to be confident that their investment is supporting the top 5% of Canadian researchers and their science.
*Our scientific discovery projects are interdisciplinary by design and often focus on more than one cancer type. The figures listed above are an estimate and should not be taken as exact figures.