‘1 in 10 patients with new onset diabetes had pancreatic cancer’

At Pancreatic Cancer Action we are determined to find better ways of diagnosing patients earlier to improve survival rates of pancreatic cancer. We are therefore really excited to hear that our GP e-learning module on pancreatic cancer has made a real difference to Dr Bennett’s practice in Westlands Medical Centre, Portchester.

PCA’s GP e-learning module highlights the link between new-onset type 2 diabetes – not associated with weight gain and pancreatic cancer. Dr Bennett carried out an audit of his patients with this symptom and found that 1 in 10 patients had pancreatic cancer.

As a result of the audit, Dr Bennett is now offering CT scans to patients with this symptom. He says: “If my approach was replicated at surgeries throughout the UK, we’d be on our way to making an impact on a dreadful disease with the worst prognosis of all cancers.

Ali Stunt, CEO and Founder of Pancreatic Cancer Action, knows all too well how important this is. Ali was told she had pancreatic cancer in 2007 after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, despite being slim, healthy and active. Thanks to being diagnosed early she is now one of the 1% who survive 10 year.

Ali says: “Research has shown that pancreatic cancer patients will have visited their GP four times on average before being referred to a specialist for a scan. I saw mine more than that. But type 2 diabetes not associated with weight gain is often one of the earliest signs of pancreatic cancer, as it was in my case. If GP’s began routinely screening these patients, it may lead to the disease being picked up earlier.

Pancreatic Cancer Action ambassador, Dr Ellie Cannon, agrees: “All GP’s need to be aware that when type 2 diabetes is found unexpectedly in a patient of normal weight, they must think of pancreatic cancer and send the patient for a scan.

This study has been outlined in the Daily Mail now 2 weeks in a row, you can read the full article here.