Two out of three people in the UK can’t name a symptom of pancreatic cancer and so we worked with parliamentarians across the UK to shine a spotlight on the disease.
We helped the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pancreatic Cancer launch an inquiry into early diagnosis, and were mentioned by the Chair of the Group at Prime Minister’s Questions.
We made huge breakthroughs with the inclusion of pancreatic cancer in the new Cancer Strategy in Wales and a pilot of raising awareness of abdominal symptoms as part of Public Health England’s Be Clear on Cancer campaign. We also joined a number of specialist groups, including the Wales Cancer Alliance, to ensure that the voice of people with pancreatic cancer is heard.
The more clinical trials there are, the faster we can make the breakthroughs that patients are relying on. And in May, we launched the clinical trials part of our ‘Key to Survival’ campaign to increase the number of people taking part in them. We also unveiled our online Clinical Trial Finder to make it easier for patients to nd their nearest trial.
We responded to a number of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) consultations, and joined forces with other pancreatic cancer charities to call for greater access to treatments that could give patients precious extra time with their families. We also asked supporters to join the fight by adding their name to our Every Month Matters petition – and the response we received was fantastic, over 4,500 people have signed so far.
Progress in the survival rates for pancreatic cancer has been woefully slow, but it’s not the only cancer with a poor prognosis. In collaboration with charities representing other less survivable cancers, we have formed the Less Survivable CancerTaskforce to campaign for a signi cant improvement in survival rates by 2025. Because our voices are louder together.
We also ran eight Living with Pancreatic Cancer Support Days around the country, giving people with pancreatic cancer and their loved ones the chance to hear about the support that’s on offer, what to expect when living with pancreatic cancer, and the opportunity to meet others going through a similar experience.
Pancreatic Cancer UK supporter and volunteer
My lovely dad had been suffering with back pain for months before being diagnosed with a hernia. Our relief that it wasn’t anything too serious turned into anguish a week later when doctors said they’d made a mistake and it was pancreatic cancer. Dad passed away about a month later. It all happened so quickly that it was only after he died that I began to look into pancreatic cancer in detail. I was so angry at what I read. People are supposed to battle cancer and win, but it isn’t like that for those with pancreatic cancer – many, like my dad, don’t even have the chance to start chemo.
So much more needs to be done to raise awareness of the cancer, because the earlier it’s diagnosed the better the chance of survival. People talk about it being a silent killer but it’s not: the symptoms are there, doctors and the public just don’t recognise them or take them seriously. Nine times out of ten a bad back is exactly that, but people need to start considering pancreatic cancer as a possibility.
I recently spoke to MPs on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pancreatic Cancer – supported by Pancreatic Cancer UK - about my dad because it’s so vital that we get people on different platforms to get behind this neglected cancer, make it a priority and save lives.