New statistics published by the charity Pancreatic Cancer Action show that in 2015, pancreatic cancer was 18 per cent more common in the South East than in 2010.
The charity this figure is close to the UK average, which has seen incidence rates rise by 17 per cent in the same five-year period.
Ali Stunt, CEO and founder of Pancreatic Cancer Action, said: “More and more people are being diagnosed and dying from pancreatic cancer year on year - and it is a trend that, if not tackled head on, will lead to more people receiving a late diagnosis.
“It is time for the spotlight to be put on the disease which, due to chronic lack of awareness and funding, has a survival rate in the single digits, with little or no improvement in nearly 50 years. At Pancreatic Cancer Action, we are committed to improving early diagnosis pancreatic cancer to ensure that more people survive than die from the disease.”
The UK incidence increase is faster than predicted by Cancer Research UK5 that has estimated that more people will die from pancreatic cancer than breast cancer by 2030. This will mean that pancreatic cancer will overtake breast cancer as the fourth biggest cancer killer in the UK.
A spokesman for the charity saod: “In the South East 1,492 people were newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 20151 and, due to the shockingly low survival rate of just 5 per cent, sadly only 75 people are likely to survive until 2020.
“An ageing and growing population will lead to an increase in cancer cases. However, for most cancer types this will be offset by decreases in death rates due to improvements in early detection and/or treatment so that the number of anticipated cancer deaths will fall. This is not the case for pancreatic cancer.
“Eight out of 10 people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer will be diagnosed too late for surgery, the only potential for a cure, and most will die within a year. Pancreatic cancer is the only common cancer to be increasing in both incidence and mortality rates.”
For more information about pancreatic cancer or Pancreatic Cancer Action, please visit www.panact.org.