November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month – and it seems to have come around even faster than ever before. It also seems a long time since 2009 when I and a few others set up the UK’s very first Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Week. And how it has grown!
The PCA team has been super busy these past few months preparing for the month, and their hard work is paying off with more people than ever joining in Turn it Purple, Purple Lights for Pancreatic Cancer and People of PanCan.
Here’s what I will be up to this month, you can follow me on Twitter @AliStunt to keep up to date too!
Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Group Gibraltar
I kicked off the month on 1st November with a visit to Gibraltar on the invitation of the Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Charity – a group of volunteers led by patient Louis Baldachino who are intent on improving awareness of pancreatic cancer and improving outcomes for patients in Gibraltar. I gave a talk in the morning to the Gibraltar Health Authority, including consultants, doctors, GPs and other Healthcare professionals. As a result of my talk, the Gibraltar two week wait forms will be revised to reflect the NICE referral guidelines for pancreatic cancer and the cancer pathways (including pancreatic cancer) are being revised. I have been invited back next year to see what progress has been made!
In the afternoon I gave a talk to patients and their families at the wonderful Cancer Relief Centre – a centre which looks after the needs of cancer patients and their families by providing support and holistic treatments. I was lucky to be interviewed by the Gibraltar Chronical and the Gibraltar TV station filmed me for a 4-minute slot on their evening news the following day.
On the Saturday, Louis and his team treated me to a visit to the famous Rock of Gibraltar – a fascinating visit which helped me understand more of the history of Gibraltar as well as meeting the infamous Macaques monkeys, who were very cheeky! The Rock of Gibraltar will be lighting up purple to support PCAm at the end of the month.
A big thank you to Louis and all from the Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Group for inviting me over and making me feel so welcome.
World Pancreatic Cancer Day
In its fourth year, World Pancreatic Cancer Day is on 15th November and it is when the world unites to #DemandBetter for patients, for survival. I have been involved with this initiative since the beginning and have been the Chair for the past three years. An initiative of The World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition, we are bringing together more than 70 organizations from 30 countries and six continents to raise awareness and inspire action. Through this combined effort, we are bringing greater attention, awareness, and better outcomes to this deadly disease.
As well as sharing information via social media, general media outlets and at local levels, we at Pancreatic Cancer Action will be holding a radio day, where I will be in a radio studio talking to stations up and down the UK about pancreatic cancer and importantly, what signs and symptoms to look out for. At times I will be joined by some of our lovely supporters who have been affected by the disease to tell their own stories to their local stations.
While big splashes on the UK-wide media are important, local awareness can be really effective and we mustn’t overlook the regional media when trying to get the word out.
Inner Wheel District 9, Awareness talks
I’m off to Oxford on 21st November to talk about pancreatic cancer to Inner Wheel District 9. Inner Wheel are part of the Rotary family and District 9 has members of whom around 90 – 100 usually attend their meetings from all over Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
I have been invited to give a talk as Inner Wheel District 9 has chosen Pancreatic Cancer Action as their charity to support this year following the passing away of their Chairwoman last year from pancreatic cancer. We are really grateful they have chosen us.
22nd -23rd November:
Pancreatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
Lucy de’Lemos (PCA Fundraising Development manager) and I will be attending the annual Pancreatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland meeting in Leicester. The society is a professional body made up of surgeons, gastroenterologists, dietitians, clinical nurse specialists – all with a specific interest in diseases of the pancreas. Aside from having a stand there, I will be speaking on 22nd to tell members of the society what PCA has been up to in terms of awareness and other initiatives to help improve early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
29thNovember – 1st December:
CECOG Pancreas Cancer Academy – Amsterdam
So, Awareness Month finishes for me with another overseas trip – this time to Amsterdam.
In its third year, the Central European Cooperative Oncology Group (CECOG) are holding their Pancreas Cancer Academy. I have been involved right from the start of this innovative meeting; helping to put together the patient tracks, and feeding in to the nurse and clinician sessions. This meeting is unique in that it has joint sessions for clinicians, nurses and patients to hear latest advances in pancreas cancer and to discuss issues surrounding the disease.
I will be giving two talks during the two days of the Academy and I am very much looking forward to it.
I would like to say big thanks to everyone who is taking part in Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month this November. You are all helping to spread the word about the disease, its symptoms and risks and ultimately helping to get more people diagnosed sooner. We cannot do this without you ,and we are very grateful for all your support, enthusiasm and drive to make this Awareness Month the very best yet!