Our founder and CEO, Ali Stunt

Ali’s story

Ali Stunt is a pancreatic cancer survivor, wife, mother and CEO but above all else, she’s a fierce advocate for pancreatic cancer patients around the globe.

She has devoted the last 12 years of her life to improving early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, which has just a 7.9% five-year survival rate in the UK, and she’s considered an expert thought leader by doctors, scientists and politicians in the UK and abroad.

In 2007, having accepted a place from Imperial College, London to pursue a PhD in stable isotope cosmochemistry, (which included the study of meteorites), Ali was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

When Ali received her diagnosis she was just 41 years old. In that moment, her world turned upside down. But it wasn’t just her world she had to think about – as shares her life with her husband Phil, two sons James and Nick and her two dogs, Betty and Elsie.

Plagued for months by ambiguous symptoms such as mid-back pain, pain when eating and changes in bowel habits, her doctor originally thought she had gallstones.

In reality, she was mere weeks away from being too late for life-saving surgery to remove her pancreas. It was only because of a last-minute referral via her husband’s private medical insurance that ultimately saved her life.

After undergoing a ‘distal pancreatectomy’ and ‘splenectomy’ where 80% of the pancreas and all of the spleen is removed, Ali received six months of combination chemotherapy and then six weeks of chemo-radiotherapy treatment.

But thousands more won’t be so lucky. And that’s why Ali founded Pancreatic Cancer Action in 2010, one of the leading UK pancreatic cancer charities that focus specifically on early diagnosis.

Ali is currently in the 1% of people who survive pancreatic cancer beyond 10 years and it’s a lonely place to be. She hopes that through her work and the work of PCA, more survivors will join her in celebrating this milestone.

Beyond spearheading the charity, who have worked on ground-breaking campaigns such as Pancreas Not Penis and a somewhat controversial campaign I Wish I Had Another Cancer, Ali has been described as having an “encyclopedic knowledge” of pancreatic cancer and is popular due to her ability to see the disease both from a clinician’s and patient’s perspective.

She also joined forces with others to set up the UK’s very first Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Week in November 2009. Her surgeon, Mr Neville Menezes, is also a founding trustee of Pancreatic Cancer Action.

Ali has, both currently and previously, been involved in many steering groups, committees and organisations who have the power to save the lives of pancreatic cancer sufferers.

She also regularly gives talks on pancreatic cancer in the UK and abroad. Her work overseas ensures that she is able to contribute to pancreatic cancer policies at a global level.

Because of this, she is regularly asked to create training presentations for medical professionals and write articles for medical and pharmaceutical publications.

Ali is a key stakeholder in the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pancreatic Cancer (APPGPC), a group created to ensure that pancreatic cancer is high on the political agenda. It’s her responsibility to advocate for pancreatic cancer patients and families which often involves speaking or giving evidence.

Recently, there was an inquiry into the lack of funding for pancreatic cancer by the APPGPC and she provided relevant facts and figures, evidence from the Department of Health, evidence from National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and research from clinicians.

Current involvements

  • She is currently working with Astrazeneca to give a patient’s perspective on pancreatic cancer patient materials.
  • She is currently involved in a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel who are updating eligibility criteria for pancreatic cancer clinical trials.
  • In September, she is due to give a talk on pancreatic cancer to the University of Surrey School of Health Science.
  • At the end of September, she will be a panelist for the Westminster Health Forum Policy who will be discussing priorities for cancer care.

Past involvements

  • She was one of the founding members on the steering committee for the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition.
  • For several years, she chaired the World Pancreatic Cancer Day Sub-Committee.
  • She has travelled to Brussels to be on the panel for the European Cancer Organisation, an international patient advisory committee.
  • She has travelled to Vienna to present at the Central European Coalition Oncology Group (CECOG)’s Pancreatic Cancer Academy. She also contributes to the programme for the event.
  • At the beginning of this year, she gave a presentation on pancreatic cancer to trainee GPs at the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust.
  • Over the years she has been involved with various pharmaceutical companies – giving talks on pancreatic cancer, serving on several advisory boards and representing patients of pancreatic cancer.
  • She has been asked to speak at the Charity Times Leadership Conference. 
  • She is regularly invited to speak at events run by the Economist to do with cancer.

The primary endpoint being that more people are diagnosed in time for surgery – currently the only potential for a cure.

Get in touch with Ali – 

Send an email

Follow Ali on Twitter @AliStunt

Or call 0303 040 1770

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