Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

Biggest medical breakthrough in the fight against pancreatic cancer finds the disease could be diagnosed up to three years earlier.

Today (1st November) marks the start of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month, the goal is to raise awareness about the disease in a bid to hit our target of raising the 5-year survival rate to 13% by 2030.

This year our campaign “Check Your Type” is focused on the fact that some Type 2 diabetics receive a misdiagnosis and instead have Type 3c diabetes, caused by Pancreatic Cancer.

The campaign builds on our ground-breaking study in conjunction with the University of Surrey and the University of Oxford into early diagnosis. The study confirms that it may be possible to detect pancreatic cancer up to three years earlier to give patients hope of an improved outcome.

The study is the largest ever investigation into the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer, including weight loss, hyperglycaemia and diabetes. It has identified the timelines for when they develop in relation to cancer.

You can find a copy of the full study here: BMI and HbA1c are metabolic markers for pancreatic cancer: Matched case-control study using a UK primary care database | PLOS ONE

Lead author Dr Agnieszka Lemanska, Lecturer in Data Science at the University of Surrey, said:

"Due to the difficulty in detecting pancreatic cancer, survival rates are extremely poor compared to other cancers, with less than 10 per cent of people surviving five years or more after diagnosis.
"Weight loss and increased blood glucose are recognised symptoms of pancreatic cancer. However, the extent of these symptoms and when they manifest have been unknown. Knowing when they develop will help clinicians.”

Ali Stunt, Founder and CEO of Pancreatic Cancer Action, and pancreatic cancer survivor, said:

"I was lucky to be diagnosed in time for surgery and 'beat the odds', but sadly this is not the case for everyone. Symptoms for pancreatic cancer are ambiguous and difficult for clinicians to diagnose; it was originally thought I had gallstones.
"I am one of the one per cent who survive pancreatic cancer beyond 10 years, and it's a lonely place to be."

To help promote this we are connecting a multitude of people to their local radio stations to be able to tell their stories, Ali Stunt (CEO of PCA) will be speaking to national and local radio stations, and we are hoping this will be the start of the best PCAM yet!

Another aim of PCAM this year is to try to get more healthcare professionals to know the signs and symptoms. If you are a healthcare professional and want to learn more, we have a variety of resources including e-learning modules that you can access for free on our website. You can find them all here.

We have a busy month ahead of us and with your help it can be the biggest Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month yet!