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No cancer advert that saves a single life can be accused of going too far

I  want to remind all those that read this blog post that today 160 women will find out they have breast cancer, eight women will find out they have cervical cancer and seven men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer.  It is vital that everyone finds out about the signs and symptoms of these cancers too.  Please find the relevant charity details below.

Today sees the launch of the UK’s very first awareness advertising campaign for pancreatic cancer, which is being shown on the London Underground stations and tube cars as well as in London and Manchester newspapers such as the Metro and Evening Standard.

You will no doubt see that the campaign is a hard-hitting one and one that we feel will make people who currently know little about pancreatic cancer sit up and take notice. Some people may ask how someone could ever imagine wishing they had another cancer.  

Being diagnosed with cancer of any kind is devastating and no one would choose to go through a diagnosis and the treatment that follows, regardless of the type.  We are also aware that all cancers can end up with a terminal diagnosis which is devastating for all involved.We would honestly not wish anyone to go through this awful disease and our heart goes out to every cancer patient and those who have lost someone.

So why run this campaign? Well, when I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer age 41 in 2007 and started to understand the gravity of the disease, only a 3% chance of survival and an average life expectancy of just months, I did feel at times that I wish I had a cancer that would give much better chance of survival; as the odds of me being around for my loved ones for longer would be significantly improved. In fact the cancer I personally wished I had was breast. This was because, while in the middle of my chemotherapy treatment, I had a call from a friend who was suffering from breast cancer. 

She was telling me how grueling her treatment was and how difficult it was to cope with the diagnosis. While I was sympathetic and empathetic, I did find it  very hard to listen to her tell me about how tough it was and that the side effects of her treatment were awful (which they were). I understood as, after all, I too was undergoing chemotherapy.  I couldn’t help but think every now and then, “it’s alright for you, you have an 85% chance that you will still be here in five years time – while my odds are only 3%.” Cancer envy: I’d never have thought I would be envious of anyone with breast cancer, but I was.

 

Graph

What we are NOT trying to do is to belittle any other cancer. Cancer is serious no matter the type and even for those cancers with 5-year survival rates of 80-90% people still die. Cancer is the last thing you would wish on anyone you care about. Our advert is not stating that the person wishes they contract breast/cervical/testicular cancer, rather they wish they could swap pancreatic cancer for a cancer that will give them a better chance of survival. We have selected cancers for our campaign that have a significantly better survival rate than pancreatic cancer. Plus they are ones that have benefited from the tremendous campaigning done by cancer charities to raise awareness of these cancers and increase the levels of funding over the past 10-15 years and in some cases have seen survival rates increase by over 50%! Currently, because of successful awareness campaigns by some brilliant charities:

  • testicular cancer has a 97% survival rate
  • breast cancer has an 85%
  • cervical cancer 67%[i]

In the early 1970s

  • testicular cancer had a 69% 5-year survival rate
  • breast cancer had a 52% survival rate
  • cervical cancer 52%.

Survival for pancreatic cancer moved from only 2% to 3.5% in the same period. I get to know many pancreatic cancer patients and their families and the wish to have another cancer has been expressed many times. I spoke to a lady, who had lost her mother just 5 weeks after diagnosis, about the campaign and she told me that her mum had said ‘why didn’t I get breast cancer’ when she realised that she had such a short time left. It was important to us to ensure that we did not use models for the campaign but real patients. I am very grateful to them for being part of this.

Andy, Kerry and Penny all have metastatic pancreatic cancer and not once did they hesitate in getting involved. Kerry in particular is very unwell at present and was unable to travel to London for the photo shoot, so we went to her. It was an enormous effort for her to take part in the shoot but she was determined to do it despite being exhausted by her treatment. Penny came straight to the shoot after having one of her daily doses of chemo-radiotherapy and luckily, Andy is having a break from the chemotherapy so was in good spirits. We also have not gone into this campaign lightly.

When the creative agency, Team Darwin (who have kindly given their services free of charge) first showed us the advert copy there was a momentary sharp intake of breath then silence in the room when we read the full copy. Yes, the strap line is hard hitting and may even offend some but it does compel you to read on – which is what we need people to do if we are to change the fortunes for pancreatic cancer.

We have also done our homework and conducted research; and out of all respondents to an online survey, only one thought we had gone too far. We had comments such as:

“A little uncomfortable and shocked at seeing the phrase ‘I wish I had’…but when I read the pancreatic cancer statistics, I respect the ad for using that phrase to make me think

“A lot of cancer ads rely on shock tactics. But this campaign leverages shock for information, not just emotion. So even though they`re sensational, they`re justified. ‘How can anyone say that? Oh I see. Wow!

Including this one: “NO CANCER ADVERT THAT SAVES A SINGLE LIFE CAN BE ACCUSED OF GOING TOO FAR

What we want to achieve is an increased awareness of pancreatic cancer in the hope that the public are more informed about the realities of this disease that we can encourage increased funding and importantly that more people will take a trip to their doctor if they suspect they have the early symptoms of pancreatic cancer.Early diagnosis saves lives. For those diagnosed in time for potentially curative surgery, their chance of surviving five years increases ten-fold.

[i] For further info on cervical cancer as well as support: www.jostrust.org.uk helpline: 0808 802 8000
 
For information and support on anything to do with breast cancer contact the Breast Cancer Care Helpline on 0808 800 6000 or visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk
 
For further information on testicular cancer and support, contact Macmillan Cancer Support 0808 808 0000 visit http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Cancerinformation/Cancertypes/Testes/Testicularcancer
 

45 Responses to “No cancer advert that saves a single life can be accused of going too far”

  1. Lynne Judd says:

    I think what you have done is brave and I applaud it, I would have took part in a heart beat.
    When my husband was diagnosed I used to say to him I’d chop both my legs off if it meant a cure for you.

    • Ali Stunt says:

      Hi Lynne, Thank you for your kind comments about our campaign – it’s great to have this feedback but sorry you and your husband had to go through him having pancreatic cancer. Do let us know if you want to become involved with any future campaigns. Email us at enquiries@panact.org if this is of interest.
      Best wishes,

      • Anon says:

        I love these ads. Thank you.

        1) My husband was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, he was given 3-6 months but lived for 20 with the help of chemo. My husband asked that I tell his family about the prognosis because he found it hard to talk about. When I did which was on the phone from the hospital – I cried. They did not believe me and from that point on they did not respond or act like a family who’s loved one was going to die – then I found out why.

        His son’s mother-in-law kept telling everyone the opposite – that her husband had colon cancer for longer than my husband had pancreatic and he was still around so – I was overreacting. ‘He’ll be fine’ or ‘Cancer is just a bump in the road.’ She kept telling everyone that the effects of chemo aren’t that bad/ he wasn’t going to die – I was exaggerating.

        How do I know she did this? Because she phoned me – at the request of the family – to tell me the truth about how cancer works – because I was overreacting – there was no need to cry. I should settle down and enjoy life. The treatments would be over and my husband and I could start living again.

        My husband tried correcting them but to no avail. This lady was that certain – cancer was easy to deal with – and just wouldn’t stop telling everyone that.

        Well her husband is alive and mine is not. I was soooo close to making a sarcastic comment to her at his funeral. She didn’t even have the decency to send flowers – that would have been an acknowledgement of is passing.

        2) Later, I decided to have a cancer ribbon tattooed on my leg but asked for Lilac to represent all cancers. The guy who did it – made the ribbon pink (I was on my side and couldn’t see). He didn’t get it. The advertising campaigns had made him unable to fathom anything other than pink on a woman’s leg and he told me the colour was fine because I was a woman. I made him change it right away and that meant tattooing over work that he had just done. He was very unwilling and treated me as if I was being difficult – and wrong.

        So yes, I approve of this message. Darn right it is time to get the correct message to the public. There is too much misinformation out there. Cancers are not all the same.

        Thank you for having the courage to do this.

  2. Vicki Stevenson-Hornby says:

    As a hepatobiliary Clinical Nurse Specialist, I applaud everyone who has been involved in any way in producing this campaign. Well Done!! It is hard-hitting and that is absolutely what is required to make changes and have an impact on this disease!
    Vicki
    x

    • Ali Stunt says:

      Vicky,
      You of all people are at the front-line of pancreatic cancer and see the heartbreak and pain it can cause. Thank you so much for your positive comments about the campaign. It is so good to know we have your support. Keep up all the good work that you do for patients!
      Best wishes,
      Ali

  3. Clair Giles says:

    Hard hitting and to the point, exactly what is needed for pancreatic cancer, we’ve had too many years of the status quo for this deadliest cancer, something has to change, not in the future, not soon, but now!

    And like my fellow purple warrior Lynne, I too would have been involved too.

    Keep up the fantastic work

    • Ali Stunt says:

      Thanks Clair – good to know you also would have been involved with something like this. This time around we wanted to have current patients in the adverts and we are very grateful to Kerry, Penny and Andy for their input which, as you can imagine, took them to emotional places at times. Your support is very valuable to us.
      Best wishes,
      Ali

  4. Michelle says:

    I am so pleased to be following this campaign. My mom aged 59 was diagnosed in March 2013, she lost her battle in December 2013. Before diagnosis I had limited knowledge and statistics of this cancer!! Hopefully more awarness and research will help others x

    • Ali Stunt says:

      Thank you Michelle for your positive comment and we are very sorry to hear you lost your mother to pancreatic cancer last December. We too hope more awareness will lead to greater funding for research and improve early diagnosis for this dreadful disease.
      Best wishes,
      Ali

  5. Victoria Farley says:

    As an oncology nurse, I appreciate the importance of early diagnosis and raised awareness. However I think this advert is very belittling to other cancer sufferers. Every person that experiences cancer is fighting their own difficult battle, both mentally and physically. Treatment may be with curative intent but this doesn’t mean they are living a pain free, stress free ‘normal life.’ Personally, having a loved one suffer from testicular cancer who underwent 6 months of chemotherapy, it is important all cancer charities raise awareness of early detection to ensure lives are saved!! All cancers can have devastating effects!!

    • Ali Stunt says:

      Dear Victoria,
      I agree that cancer is not something to wish on anyone and this is precisely not what we are doing with this campaign. It is the thoughts and feelings of pancreatic cancer patients that they wish that, if they had to have cancer, they would prefer to be diagnosed with one which gives greater odds of survival. We are not belittling any cancer and we are fully aware that people can still die of cancers with high 5 yr survival stats and that the treatments can be gruelling both physically and mentally. I know this personally having undergone treatment for pancreatic cancer. My treatment was with curative intent but the high recurrence rate after pancreatic cancer surgery means that this disease daily hangs over me plus I have side effects from both the disease and the treatments that are with me to this day. However, I am one of the very few pancreatic cancer patients who are able to have surgery (the only potential for a cure). I am sorry to hear that your loved one had to endure the diagnosis of testicular cancer and its associated treatments. Cancer is indeed awful no matter what the type and awareness leading to earlier diagnosis is crucial for all cancers. I applaud other charities associated with breast, prostate, testicular, cervical, ovarian and many other cancers that have successfully raised awareness of those individual conditions and improved the survival stats for those cancers over the past 40 years considerably – something that has not happened for pancreatic cancer. We at Pancreatic Cancer Action would like to emulate this kind of success.
      Best wishes,
      Ali

  6. Victoria Farley says:

    * life’s

  7. Janice Thompson says:

    All cancers are of course devastating but I regularly wish my cancer was not in the pancreas. I was lucky and able to have the tumour removed but the incredibly high chance that the cancer will return is almost impossibly hard to live with. This campaign needed to be hard hitting. Well done.

    • Ali Stunt says:

      Hi Janice,
      Thanks for commenting and supporting. It is this kind of comment from real patients that formed the campaign in the first place. It was my wish to have a different cancer – in my case it was breast because of its 85% 5-yr survival versus the 3% I was facing. I totally understand how you feel about the fear of recurrence – I manage this fear by thinking I am a statistic of one – my disease, my treatment, my outcome and the other stats (that are averages) apply to other people. By having the surgery, you have already increased your chance of surviving 5 yrs (if you haven’t already!) ten-fold. This is why early diagnosis is so important. Keep strong.
      Best wishes,
      Ali

  8. James Duncan says:

    I am a Doctor, and so am fully aware of what a truly terrible disease pancreatic cancer is, and have witnessed first hand several patients in the final stages of their disease on HPB wards. The father of one of my closest friends has also passed away within the past week as a result of the disease, and so it is currently at the forefront of my mind and bears personal relevance as well.

    Despite these facts, I do find this advert quite distasteful, and as previous replies have mentioned, belittling to other cancer sufferers. I appreciate the need to improve earlier diagnosis through well funded research, which can only be achieved by increasing awareness, however I believe that this could be achieved in a more sensitive manner. Remember that breast cancer is still the second most common cause of cancer deaths in women in the UK, mainly as a result of its prevalence (Cancer Research UK citing the Office of National Statistics, 2013), and so should not be referred to quite so dismissively.

    I wish you the best with your campaign, and truly hope that it improves outcome for all those affected by this disease, I just hope that this can be achieved with alternative methods in the future.

  9. In September 2008 I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and after major surgery was given less than 2 months. It was devastating for my family who supported me throughout 8 months of chemo. In April 2012 I was diagnosed with breast cancer the support and help that was given by Breast cancer was amazing I just wish that people who have pancreatic cancer were given the same support and respect. Cancer is every ones worst nightmare
    so why is the research not spread over all the main types not just the ones with the highest survival rates.

  10. Julia says:

    You have achieved one aim, it will get people talking. However, as a breast cancer survivor all I focused on was the strap line. It turned me away & the Coronation Street storyline already had prompted me to find out more. I was too upset to read the rest of your ad.

    From your blog, I understand that these are the real words of not only the young girl in the ad but many pancreatic cancer patients. It is a human reaction & one of all of us having faced cancer will appreciate.

    I would be genuinely interested to know if you had asked other cancer survivors to comment on your ad?

  11. Please be more specific in your wishes. The breast cancer you probably would want to wish for is early stage breast cancer. Hopefully, your cancer wouldn’t return, but it might–5, 10, 20 or 25 years later, this time as metastatic (“secondary”) disease. Or, like me, you could be Stage IV from your initial diagnosis.

    Metastatic breast cancer is responsible for half a million deaths worldwide. Here in the US, 40,000 die from it annually.

    Metastatic breast cancer is an incurable disease 2014.

    The median survival time for someone with metastatic breast cancer is two years. Someone with metastatic breast cancer never “finishes” treatment–unlike your friend with early stage breast cancer. For some types of breast cancer (such as triple negative) the patient is on chemotherapy for life. (Does this sound enviable?)

    The average metastatic breast cancer patient may receive eight or 10 different treatment regimens in sequence. When one drug stops working, the patient tries another. Eventually they all stop working.

    The research story for metastatic breast cancer is bleak. It gets less than 5% of the research dollar pie. That being said, I echo the American Cancer Society’s Dr. Otis Brawley stance against the “disease Olympics.”

    “This is when advocates for one disease try to increase funding for their disease by decreasing funding for another disease. I have often seen this in my 25 years as an oncologist, researcher, and scientific administrator. I would point out that 90% of the grants that are submitted and judged worthy of funding to the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, and other research-funding organizations are not funded due only to a lack of money. I believe the wise advocate tries to get more money for ALL cancer research and does not try to undermine another disease in favor of the disease that he or she is interested in.

    ”The wisest advocacy for cancer science is support for more money for cancer research in general and support for funding the best science and encouraging scientific investigators to maintain an open mind. Scientists must look for additional applications of findings beyond just their cancer of interest.”
    http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/expertvoices/post/2011/08/09/funding-the-best-science-helps-us-all.aspx
    I

    Here is the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyTAf3niEO0

    Please watch it.

    Sincerely,
    Katherine O’Brien
    Board Member
    Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer Since 2009

    Metastatic Breast Cancer Network
    http://www.mbcn.org

    Please review this presentation on why mets matters which includes research funding statistics (less than 5%):
    http://advancedbc.org/files/Mayer_NBCC_2011_0.pdf

    • Lauren says:

      Hi there,
      I think you may have missed the point of the advert.. having lost a close friend to pancreatic cancer 4 months ago, I can only have support for this advert.

      When I got the phone call about my friend having pancreatic cancer I did not realise at first just how serious this was, the phone call came form another close friend of mine who is a non hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor and breast cancer survivor she knew exactly what this kind of cancer would do. there was no time for chemotherapy and he was dead in 8 weeks he faded away in a hospice at 26 years old.
      The point of this advert is to show the poor survival rates the lack of research and funding and the speed of such a killer disease and whilst no one wishes for cancer, when you have been diagnosed with a cancer like this then you can wish for something that has a better prognosis.

      Breast cancer has had a lot of funding and attention over the years which I am grateful for at it saved my best friend (for now at least) maybe pancreatic cancer deserves a shot at getting some extra funding and attention and maybe the survival rate can increase from a sad looking 3%

      I am glad this advert sparked such a debate and got people talking.

      The young girl in the advert sadly passed on the 22nd Feb she was 24.

  12. AnneMarie says:

    Please. It’s not a competition. There has been LITTLE progress in saving lives from breast cancer. The deaths per 100K in the US has remained stagnant for FORTY years. As the friend of a 36 year old who we just learned has died of breast cancer, this is very demeaning, very upsetting and very wrong. The fact is, my sweet one (that’s how I referred to Jada) may have done better with pancreatic cancer. Certainly, she would not have done worse. She’s dead. Her parents are destroyed and you are campaigning about wishing for breast cancer. We should all be working together. Fighting for each other, for meaningful research. Now that the research is on the molecular level, it’s less about specific organs and more about the biology of the cells. I hope you will reconsider this campaign. Bringing attention to one community at the expense of another is not the way to raise awareness. Education is.

  13. bnann says:

    Exactly our secret reactions on learning about my sister’s late stage ovarian cancer, now recurrent. I wish someone would r
    have run campaigns for its awareness too, ad it is one of the most deadliest and frequent for women, and particularly good at recurring. Besides being very frequent. My neighbor, a doctor was diagnosed & died of pancreatic cancer while I was away for the summer hols, so I can understand the need for a campaign to raise early awareness.Good UK

  14. Claire says:

    A really effective and powerful advert, exactly what is needed to increase awareness. I lost my mum to pancreatic cancer and like so many people knew nothing about it until it had affected my family. I would also love to be involved in any way that I can in the future.
    Claire

  15. Tru says:

    Oh, and just one more thing, about the “If it saves just one life, it’s worth it” argument.

    When you think of all the people killed in automobile accidents each year, simply banning all motor vehicles would surely save a lot of lives, wouldn’t it?

    Would it be worth it to our society to completely eliminate this form of transportation, when one considers how many lives would be saved?

    Really, you just shouldn’t have even gone there. The “If it saves just one life, it’s worth it” argument to defend anything is dead in the water.

  16. Kate says:

    I understand why initially people that have been affected by other cancers might be offended by this, however, I hope that once they sit back and take in the facts they realise the truth behind the message of this advert. I bet there isn’t one breast cancer diagnosis or testicular cancer diagnosis where the patient thinks that they wish they had been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer where as I bet anyone diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer wishes they’d been diagnosed with any other kind. Having myself had a Mum that has had breast cancer and a Dad that had Pancreatic Cancer I know what I would want to be faced with. My Dad was the fittest person I know, in April last year he was still running competitively for the county and was placed 3rd in the UK for the fastest time in his age group (69). He was diagnosed at the end of May and died at the end of August, 3 months to the day. He was going to the Dr since the previous December with what I now know are very obvious pancreatic cancer symptoms but was sent away. More awareness and funds need to be raised for this incredibly cruel and inhumane illness.

  17. Martin says:

    I think the campaign is brilliant!! Many are saying the campaign is “insensitive”. I will tell you what is insensitive, it’s all those people running around waiving pink in your face while others are dying knowing there is no money , support or treatment for what they have.
    To those that say it’s not a competition, well you are wrong. The world only has so much money and the medical resources are finite. Allocating most of these resources to one or two cancers has turned fund raising and awareness into noting but one big competition. Sadly, many cancers are left out of the spotlight, awareness, money and research.
    As for what other cancer victims think, well I am one. I have had kidney cancer and Prostate cancer. I had one in my 40’s and the other in my early 50’s. Both times I felt very lucky because I could have been diagnosed with something much worse like pancreatic cancer! And that is what the campaign is trying to point out. Not all cancer is the same. Not all survival rates are the same. Not all treatments are the same. It is a harsh reality.

  18. […] If you’re a woman, and you just found out you had pancreatic cancer, would you wish it were just breast cancer? If you’re a man, would you pine for a little touch of testicular cancer instead? Because that’s the message from the British organization Pancreatic Cancer Action. […]

  19. John Washington says:

    I was one of those invited to the focus groups and I’m thrilled that this hard hitting and meaningful campaign has seen the light of day. Until now, this particular cancer has had a very low profile so if it can manage to raise awareness, generate funds, more research and give hope for the future it will be a great success. Well done and good luck to all involved.
    JohnW

  20. Parminder Summon says:

    Well done to all at PCA, this is a powerful ad, a real wake up call to take action on pancreatic cancer. I have worked as a fundraiser for 4 charities including the leading cancer charity. I can relate to how people with this condition must feel when they consider the rapid progress in the treatment and survival rates of other cancers.

    It seems as if it takes shock tactics to awaken our concern. It is a scandal that more is not done for people with this cancer. I don’t have a vested interest in promoting this view – I don’t know anyone with pancreatic cancer, but I can appreciate the need for urgent action.

    I have also worked at a dementia charity and the feeling there was the same – that most research was funding the major cancers with a tiny percentage going towards tackling dementia.

  21. […] organization,  Pancreatic Cancer Action,  is coming under fire for their newest ad campaign, which depicts Pancreatic cancer victims in […]

  22. David says:

    Saw the ad on Newsnight and the discussions over the insensitivity of the ad, As someone who lost my father to pancreatic Cancer, I can whole heartedly say that I can see exactly where the Ad is coming from and why it is portrayed in this manner.

    The question we all ask, regarding success rate of treatment, is a bigger blow than actually finding out that someone has cancer in the first place.

    Brave Advert and hopefully raises awareness of this particularly awful type of cancer.

  23. Gareth Wood says:

    Whilst it may be hard for some to accept this advertisement is tough and hard but the disease is far worse and any sufferer or carer would say the same. The survival rates and general prognosis is appalling in a modern civilised country and whilst I appreciate all cancers and illnesses should be treated the same funding should be prioritised to get survival rates for all cancers down to a minimum level of say 75% .
    Like so many others I had never really heard of PC until my wife Josi’s diagnosis but the horrific speed was a shock and less than six weeks later Josi was quietly passing in my arms. If the advert stops one person suffering such a terrible time they are worth a few hurt feelings.
    Gareth

  24. […] Some on the “pancreatic cancer side” might say yes. In fact, here’s an article/video saying, “No cancer advert that saves a single life can be accused of going too far”. […]

  25. Leo Phillips says:

    I have very aggressive stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. I have a median prognosis of 2 years, of which I’ve used up nearly 1. If I’m lucky, I may get another couple of years. There are not many treatments available, and the cancer will eventually be resistant to all of them and I will die. I have a friend who is 38, has two young children, and her cancer is at a more advanced stage than mine, she probably has only months to live now, in great pain. She has a friend who recently died of metastatic breast cancer, aged 42, leaving a husband and three children. It may be a slightly better alternative to pancreatic cancer, but not enough to have this hurtful and offensive advertising campaign. I don’t think anyone would really want what we have.

  26. Joe Jenkins says:

    I agree that shock tactics are often needed but I believe this could have been handled better. The choice of words to use as the HEADLINE unfortunately leaves room for misinterpretation, offence and annoyance (as seen by the feedback). I am 100% sure this was not intended but we must acknowledge that it has happened. I also acknowledge that hindsight is a wonderful thing. I just hope it doesn’t detract from the actual message, and I am sad to see that a number of people have said they will no longer fundraise for you because they feel belittled/offended.

    • Pauline Edwards says:

      Any life that can be saved is wonderful. Please do not choose to have other cancers. I know so many girls with secondaries from breast cancer including, lungs, pancreas, liver, kidneys and bones. These girls have familys,some very young, several girls had masectomy’s while pregnant. I think this advert will be noticed but not liked and supported by many as it comes across as very offensive. Remember you need support, so sort it out.

  27. Cackles says:

    Team Darwin, what kind of people are you to think this is advert acceptable? it is a thoughtless and naive campaign. Why upset other cancer victims? I take it as read you and your loved ones do not suffer from any form of cancer. Breast cancer is not one disease. There are many forms. Some may be low grade and non invasive but others can be an agressive grade three cancer with lots of circulating tumour cells and metastatic disease at diagnosis. All cancers make people realise they are not here forever and the future could be VERY limited. Yours is NOT an any publicity is good campaign it is thoughtless and upsetting for many breast cancer patients. Lots are not going to do any better than a pancreatic cancer victim. By the way not all breast cancer charities have unlimited resources I know I work for one in my retirement (as well as having had an agressive Breast Cancer and worked in Oncology and Palliative Care for twenty years). Laraine Cox.

  28. Di Mills says:

    I totally understand the ad. My husband was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in October 2011, and passed away November 2012. After the diagnosis we both said the same ‘if it had to be cancer why couldn’t have been one of the ones with a better chance of survival’. It’s one of those statements that nobody will understand a patient / loved one making unless they have been in that position…. and they wouldn’t want to be. I applaud you for doing it, but not everybody will, but if it makes people talk about it, you’ve done your job. Thanks

  29. Bev says:

    A wakeup call this advert may be, but it is at the expense of people dealing with other forms of cancer that this advert claims are preferable. Every cancer journey is unique, painful, traumatic and life altering. Upsetting patients and their families further in this way is indefensible.

  30. Katy McKilt says:

    “My treatment was with curative intent but the high recurrence rate after pancreatic cancer surgery means that this disease daily hangs over me plus I have side effects from both the disease and the treatments that are with me to this day”.

    Fear of recurrence, is not unique to pancreatic cancer. I’ve had breast cancer twice in the last year and the prospect of the cancer returning is a very real and terrifying possibility which I live with every day. I too am living with the after effects of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and multiple surgical procedures. To suggest that only people with pancreatic cancer experience these difficulties is both ignorant and patronising.

    I’d encourage you to look at the history of the Breast Cancer movement. It’s taken 40 years of campaigning for breast cancer charities to achieve the status they have today, so to say ‘it’s not fair’ and ‘but they get more money than me’ is pathetic and insulting to the women who fought for the movement all those years ago.

  31. lynda carter says:

    My mum died in 1990 aged 52 of pancreatic cancer and I can’t believe that this devastating cancer, as is any form of cancer, still not getting the funding it so deserves.
    We have lost other family members through to other forms of cancer but my mum’s symptoms where more aggressive.
    I only hope that this campaign gets the right recognition it deserves. I understand completely the words which are used to describe how someone feels at diagnosis…….This is not a competition it is an awareness campaign so don’t take it out of context.

  32. jean webb says:

    my mother suffered from pancreatic cancer a few years ago and it took weeks for the doctors to diagnose her. maybe if a campaign like this was running at the time she would have had a better chance of surviving more than 6months. the doctors seemed to have no idea what was wrong with her and I even googled her symptoms and came up with pancreatic cancer before they did .people may think the ad is insensitive but until you’re in the position of having someone close to you diagnosed with it and watching them suffer and deteriorate so quickly I don’t think they would be so quick to condem it.

  33. I think you have been very brave to do this – all cancers are terrible but some are worse than others. My husband died from head and neck cancer – it was horrific. Don’t take any notice of any adverse commnts – you have done what you think is right and that is the main thing. I wish you well.

  34. C.S. says:

    I understand what message you are trying to get across…all you hear about is breast, ovarian and womb cancers…BUT, they are not the only cancers that affect women. At 42, I had a lump growing on my head, I had a rare form of head and neck cancer only seen in 1 in 1 million people. There are other kinds of cancer out there and they are real, and this young woman is 25, leave her alone. Not all cancer is pink people.

  35. mandy palmer says:

    My husband died from pancreatic cancer on 14th December 2013 aged 47, he had whipples surgery in 2008 then chemo and radiotherapy we had almost five years and thought just maybe we were in the clear for good but this cancer is so aggresive that it returned not only in his pancreas but his liver lungs and bones and he died within 6 weeks. This is a vile cancer and anything we can do to promote awareness even if it upsets some people is worth it.

  36. Liza says:

    Congratulations on raising awareness about a disease that has turned our family upside down since June 2011. My 54 year old husband is still in there fighting, but it is hard when everyone we know who has been diagnosed with this disease since June 2011, is dead or close to it. If we don’t get the focus, we won’t get the $$ for research and we won’t get the breakthrough. It is a nonsense that the outcomes for this disease haven’t shifted since the ’40′s.

    Thank you.

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