See Dr Ayan Panja – presenter on the BBC World News programme ” The Health Show” talking about the difficulties of diagnosing pancreatic cancer:
Key Messages for the medical community:
- The majority of pancreatic cancer patients experience a delay in diagnosis with 50% presenting as emergencies. Only 11% of patients are diagnosed through the two-week referral system1
- Painless jaundice and/or new onset dyspepsia demand an urgent diagnosis at any age
- Most pancreatic cancer patients require a CT scan for diagnosis
Pancreatic cancer has one of the highest incident-to-mortality ratio for any disease.
In 2010, 8,455 people were newly diagnosed in the UK and in the same year, 7,921 people died (approx. 22 people per day) for more in-depth information, see our pancreatic cancer statistics page
Every GP in the UK will see a new patient with pancreatic cancer at least every 4-5 years and most patients have a delay in diagnosis.2
The average-size GP practice will see on average one case of pancreatic cancer per year.
It is vital therefore that clinicians are reappraised of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer in order to save lives.
Free Online Interactive Training
We understand that GPs are extremely busy and can find it difficult to leave the surgery to attend training sessions. To make it easier for practitioners to get access to the latest information on pancreatic cancer we have decided to make use of technology.
We have worked with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) to develop free online interactive training on pancreatic cancer. The module, “Diagnosing Pancreatic Cancer in Primary Care” has been designed and written by specialists in the field and overseen by practising GPs.
The GP e-learning programme uses a case study format with video footage adding variety and reality and enables GPs to assess and improve their knowledge in the field of pancreatic cancer. Dr Ishani Patel, the RCGP e-learning fellow and associate at the North West London Cancer Network says, ‘Very importantly this online learning course looks at both atypical presentations of the disease as well as the more classic symptoms of the illness. This will help GPs to ‘think cancer’ sooner and help primary care to diagnose pancreatic cancers earlier and improve survivorship.’
The module is free to access, is hosted on the RCGP website and you will be awarded Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits for taking part in the course. You do not need to be a member of the RCGP to take ths course – but you will have to register with the e-learning part of their website to use the education tool. To access the course please click here
Free Pancreatic Cancer Lectures for GPs & other clinicians:
Many hospital trusts will be holding talks on pancreatic cancer throughout 2011 as part of their regular GP Training programme.
We will normally organise up to three speakers for an hour’s talk. The speakers will usually consist of a specialist consultant (surgeon, oncologist, palliative care consultant) and others with a pancreatic cancer specialism such as a dietitian. We also like to include, where possible, a patient to give their direct experience.
We like to use specialists who are local to the area where the training is given. This not only helps with the logistics of the event but provides attendees with a local specialist contact going forward.
We are also able to help with training materials in terms of powerpoint slides which can be customised by the specialist to reflect their local situation. We will also prepare leaflets for distribution in local GP practices and in hospitals to advertise the event.
If you are interested in setting one up in your area, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
Download aPDF version of the Pancreatic Cancer GP Training flyer which you may send out to your local GP practice or GP tutor
Articles in press:
See our article “Improving outcomes in pancreatic cancer: Whipples, chemotherapy or optimised primary care? in the National Association of Primary Care Review Spring/Summer 2011
Calling all practice nurses!
Practice nurses could be the first medical professional a patient who has symptoms of pancreatic cancer will visit.
They may be in for a routine diabetic clinic or flu jab and it may be you they ask about the ‘vague’ pancreatic cancer symptoms they have been having.
Practice and community nurses are therefore vital in the push for earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and we hope you can help us.
We are already developing online interactive training for GPs but soon this is to be expanded to include practice nurses. We will update you once this is ready.
Raising Awareness of Pancreatic Cancer
Here are some things medical professionals can do to help raise awareness of the disease:
- Put on an awareness event at your surgery/hospital during awareness month (November)
- Arrange for our leaflets to be put in your patient waiting areas (these can be sent to you free of charge just email email@example.com).
- Speak to your patients about Pancreatic Cancer Action if they express an interest in getting involved with raising awareness of pancreatic cancer or need information or wish to connect with others who have experienced pancreatic cancer
- Contact us directly as we have awareness packs with free posters, leaflets etc plus we have merchandise to purchase such as pansy lapel badges and wristbands to sell on in any fundraising event you hold.