PANCREATIC cancer stands alone as an increasingly deadly threat to both men and women in Europe, a study has shown.

Experts called for priority to be given to preventing and treating the disease, which is predicted to kill 82,300 people in the EU this year.

While proportionately more people are dying from pancreatic cancer, the new research recorded falling death rates for all but one of seven other types of cancer.

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The exception was lung cancer - but only in women, due to the fact generations of them began smoking later than men. Since overall cancer mortality in Europe peaked in 1988, it will have dropped by 26% for men and 20% for women in 2014, say the researchers.

The new figures translate to an estimated 250,000 deaths avoided compared with 1988, according to the findings published in the journal Annals of Oncology.

Lead scientist Professor Carlo La Vecchia, from the University of Milan, said: "Our predictions for 2014 confirm pancreatic death rates are continuing to increase overall.

"This year we predict that 41,300 men and 41,000 women will die from pancreatic cancer .

"The increased death rate is cause for concern, because the prognosis for this tumour is bleak, with less than 5% of pancreatic cancer patients surviving for five years after diagnosis.

"This makes pancreatic cancer a priority for finding better ways to prevent and control it and better treatments."

What is driving the worsening trend for pancreatic cancer is unclear, but major risk factors include smoking, alcohol and consumption.