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Pancreatic Cancer May Become Second Leading Cause of Cancer Death 

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Pancreatic cancer is projected to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States by 2020, health officials warn.

Despite advances in treating other forms of the disease, new data out Monday details an increase in pancreatic cancer, which is historically understudied and underfunded. Cancer of the pancreas doesn't receive as much as attention as "the big four" -- lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal -- according to Lynn Matrisian, study author from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

“The projections for deaths from pancreatic and liver cancers are startling,” Matrisian said. “This study is a call to action to the scientific and clinical communities, as well as the population at large, to increase attention, awareness, and ultimately progress in the fight against pancreatic cancer.”

The report, published online in the journal Cancer Research, also indicates that the number of thyroid cancer diagnoses is predicted to increase dramatically in the next decade.

For other types, however, the death rate is declining each year, with those for lung, colorectal, and breast cancer dropping.

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