Today, Thursday 15th November, we will unite with advocates around the globe and take part in World Pancreatic Cancer Day. A day that unites the world’s population in the fight against pancreatic cancer.
The day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness; educating people about the disease; and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action.
Pancreatic cancer is the 5th biggest cause of cancer death in the UK. However, it is set to become the 4th biggest by 2026 as other cancers’ survival rates continue to improve. The survival statistics for pancreatic cancer have not changed markedly in nearly 50 years. Pancreatic Cancer is showing a worrying declining situation.
The latest Routes to Diagnosis data show that 44% of pancreatic cancer cases are diagnosed as an emergency presentation. Sadly, of those, only 1 in 10 will survive a year. Your chances of surviving a year are three times greater should you be referred to a specialist from primary care. Sadly, too few patients are diagnosed this way.
This year a study found that the UK comes 47th out of the 56 countries surveyed for 5-year survival rates for pancreatic cancer. Moreover, by 2025 deaths from pancreatic cancer are predicted to be 25% higher than breast cancer in the EU.
The statistics are devastating yet do not influence change. There is still a chronic lack of awareness of the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer amongst members of the public, healthcare professionals and the government.
Survival is so low because the majority of patients are diagnosed when their cancer is at a late stage when surgery (currently the only cure) is no longer an option. This is why early diagnosis is key.
Ali Stunt, 11 year survivor of pancreatic cancer founded our charity in 2010 to improve survival rates through early diagnosis. Ali, who is also Chair of World Pancreatic Cancer Day says,
“Pancreatic cancer has been chronically underfunded for decades. The lack of research funding is one of the reasons why pancreatic cancer continues to have such a low survival rate with little or no improvement in over 50 years. The amount given (3% of overall research funding) does not reflect the burden of the disease.
The UK is the poor man of Europe in terms of survival stats with many western EU countries having double the survival rates than we do. On the whole, treatment options do not vary across Europe. So these differences in outcomes can probably be attributed to later diagnosis and differing access to treatments in the UK. This is something we need to urgently address and this is why World Pancreatic Cancer Day has such a high importance.”
We are the only UK charity that specifically focus on improving pancreatic cancer survival rates through early diagnosis. We do this by raising awareness of the symptoms with the public; funding early diagnosis research; providing free diagnostic tools for healthcare professionals; and providing free information for patients and families.
It’s not too late to get involved in Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month! To order your free pack click here.
You can also support us on social media by sharing and retweeting the symptoms. Use the hashtags #turnitpurple and #WPCD – Follow and tag us: