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Global survey finds that pancreatic cancer, a leading cause of cancer deaths, is virtually unknown by many in Europe and US

While it may not be surprising that breast and lung cancers are top of mind when people hear the word “cancer,” 60% of respondents to a recent six-country survey about cancer awareness know almost nothing about pancreatic cancer, a leading cancer killer. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US and is projected to be the second highest cause of death from cancer in the US by 2020. The overall five-year survival rate in the US and Europe is less than 7%; this rate has been low for many years and is among the lowest for common cancers in the US and across most countries in Europe.

Today (November 13th), in observance of the first ever World Pancreatic Cancer Day, Celgene joins with the international pancreatic cancer patient advocacy community to raise the level of education and awareness about this cancer and the need for change. In support of this effort, Celgene is releasing results of a Global Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Omnibus Survey of more than 7,000 adults in the United States and Europe. The survey was sponsored by Celgene and conducted by Ipsos in early 2014 and was designed to assess the level of awareness and knowledge about pancreatic cancer, the degree of interest in learning more about this deadly cancer, and the level of support for expanded research efforts.

The survey affirmed that the majority (84%) of adults in these countries view cancer as a serious public health problem, topping a list of diseases that also included heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, diabetes and mental illness. When all respondents were asked, unaided, which specific cancers are top of mind, just 2% of those surveyed mentioned pancreatic cancer as the first type of cancer that came to mind, while 37% mentioned breast cancer and 20% mentioned lung cancer. This picture changed dramatically, however, when all respondents were made aware of the poor survival associated with pancreatic cancer, with more than 70% indicating they would be extremely/very supportive of a public awareness campaign supporting more public education about pancreatic cancer and about half of all respondents indicating they would take action to support public awareness. ??”The Global Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Omnibus survey underscores the ongoing need to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer and to support efforts for additional resources for research,” said Julie Fleshman, president and chief executive officer, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “It’s clear that when people understand the seriousness of pancreatic cancer they want to take action. The first-ever World Pancreatic Cancer Day set by the international pancreatic cancer advocacy community offers the perfect opportunity to start turning this aspiration into a global effort to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer and make a difference in the lives of those diagnosed with this cancer.”