A powerful advertising campaign launched today by Pancreatic Cancer Action, ultimately aims to encourage the general public to take a trip to the doctor if they suspect they have early symptoms of pancreatic cancer, which over 8000 people are diagnosed with each year.
The five-year survival rate of pancreatic cancer, the fifth deadliest cancer in the UK, is just 3%. While survival rates of many cancers have improved significantly over 40 years, this shockingly low survival rate has not changed at all.
The ads – featuring real pancreatic cancer patients saying they wish they had another cancer – presents the general public with the terrible prognosis that every pancreatic cancer patient currently faces upon diagnosis.
Due to lack of awareness of the disease and symptoms, people are often diagnosed too late for surgery, which is currently the only cure. The average life expectancy most people will face is just four to six months.
“We are sorry if this campaign upsets anyone and our heart goes out to anyone affected by cancer. All types of cancer are horrific and the last thing I would wish on anyone,” says Ali Stunt, founder of Pancreatic Cancer Action and a rare survivor of pancreatic cancer.
“Our advert is not stating that someone wished they had cancer but rather they wish they could swap pancreatic cancer with a cancer that gives them a better chance of survival. We purposely selected cancers for our campaign that have a significantly better survival rate than pancreatic cancer.
“We have no doubt that the campaign is a hard-hitting one,” continues Ali. “The terrible outcome that people face if they are diagnosed too late means we have to shout really, really loud to raise awareness of this grim disease.”
Macmillan Cancer Support welcomes the launch today of Pancreatic Cancer Action’s new advertising campaign encouraging the public to visit their doctor if they spot the symptoms of pancreatic cancer. Professor Jane Maher, Joint Chief Medical Officer at Macmillan Cancer Support, says:
“Survival rates are particularly poor for pancreatic cancer, in part because its signs and symptoms are very hard to spot. We must ensure more people are diagnosed at an early stage to give them the best possible chance of recovery.
“I hope this campaign will help more people to recognise those early signs and encourage them to visit their GP if they have any concerns.
“Macmillan has been working with GPs to develop a tool to support them in calculating a patient’s risk of having a number of cancers, including pancreatic. This is being rolled out across the UK and we believe it will help to improve earlier diagnosis of rarer, harder to diagnose cancers like pancreatic.”
Pancreatic Cancer Action is committed working towards earlier diagnosis. The charity is focused on educating the public and medical community as well as funding research. They also campaign for more funding from the government into research, which currently stands at less than one per cent of all research funding.
“Ultimately we want to see a dramatic increase in the number of people that survive this awful cancer. While no early detection device exists, awareness of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer is key to saving lives.”
For more information, please visit www.pancreaticcanceraction.org.
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