It has been an unbelievable week of mixed emotions for all us at Pancreatic Cancer Action. When we devised the idea of the advertisement, based on my own experience as a pancreatic cancer patient and the other sufferers I speak to, we knew that it would create some noise but we also knew it was what we needed to do to ultimately create awareness of a cancer that currently has a shockingly low survival rate of only three per cent. This has not changed in 40 years.
Millions of people are now aware that weren’t a week ago. And they’re now becoming aware of the symptoms. We have seen in the last few days an astonishing uplift in web views and a spike in views of our symptoms page. Our aim is to save lives and that is done by early diagnosis, which can only be achieved if people know what to look for.
We are hearing lots of feedback from other cancer sufferers who are very upset by the campaign. We can only apologise for any hurt that the advert might cause them at first glance. This is not the intention. What we are trying to do is create a discussion and a debate to make people realise that when faced with a pancreatic cancer diagnosis and a survival rate of only three per cent, it is not unreasonable for a cancer patient to wish for a significantly better chance of staying alive.
We have also heard from many other non-pancreatic cancer sufferers, many of whom are suffering from other forms of cancer, who support our campaign and have done so publicly on the TV and radio this week.
I believe we’re all campaigning for the same cause – to improve everyone’s chance of beating cancer. We just had to shout that little bit louder to get heard.