Official statement regarding advert

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All types of cancer are horrific and no one would wish for themselves or anyone they care about to be affected by this terrible disease. Our hearts go out to anyone who has been affected by it.

It is important to remember that the advert features real pancreatic cancer patients and all they want is a better chance of survival.

As you know, awareness is key to early diagnosis and this is particularly true for pancreatic cancer. In our case, despite the best efforts of ourselves and other pancreatic cancer organisations, for 40 years, pancreatic cancer patients in the UK have faced the same grim prognosis – only a three per cent chance of survival and an average life expectancy of less than six months.

Our campaign was discussed on This Morning yesterday and might give you some more insight into the reasons.


  1. Sometimes shock tactics are the only way to get the message across. It is long overdue that pancreatic cancer is shown to be the horrific killer that it is. No one wishes any cancer on anyone but there has been too little known about pancreatic cancer. Some people haven’t even heard of the pancreas, let alone where it is in the body or how crucial it is to health.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Please remember this campaign is not suggesting any other cancer is easier or preferred. No one would wish to have any type of cancer.

      What we are saying is that an individual pancreatic cancer patient faced with a three per cent chance of survival wishes for a better survival rate. I am sorry if the advert at first glance has upset you and I can only apologise for any hurt caused.

      Our hearts go out to you and other patients who are battling with metastatic breast cancer.

  2. All forms of cancer of awful. What is so enviable about breast cancer? Did you know that about 30% of all men and women diagnosed with breast cancer at any stage–even the earliers–will development metastatic breast cancer at some stage? Almost one in three. And metastatic breast cancer is incurable.

    Please do not be taken in by the feel-good pink advertising. There is no good cancer. Please do not advance a very just cause by stepping on another very just cause.

  3. I am aware of this campaign and I am a supporter of Pancreatic Cancer Action. What I say is this, any form of cancer is terrible, both my parents and two of my grandparents died of cancer. I had a brush with colon cancer 20 years ago, but I am still here and as far as I know am OK. However, my beautiful wife Pat died in 2012 of pancreatic cancer, and to put the matter into context, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1978, not long after we were married. She underwent two horrible operations and radiation treatment and then survived and lived a normal life for over 30 years. In December 2010 she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was told that it was terminal, with no chance of long tern survival. She died in March 2012.
    All cancers are bad, but some are worse than others, and whilst that may sound hard outcomes for some cancers have improved significantly in recent years, yet pancreatic cancer comes at the bottom of that league, with no improvement in 40 years.
    Please think of this campaign in terms of trying to raise awareness so that people in the future can have some hope, unlike me who had nothing to hang on to, not even a 1% chance of Pat surviving. Thank you for reading this.

    1. I understand where pancreatic cancer patients are coming from. I have breast cancer. My sister has breast cancer. But compared to my husband who was diagnosed aged 49 with a terminal brain tumour, and died 15 months later, we both consider ourselves lucky. Breast cancer is terrible, but there are other rarer cancers that have awful survival rates, and have had very little money spent on research compared to the big cancers. This does not mean that those people wish any ill to us breast cancer sufferers, just that they would like a chance of the same odds we have been given. As a breast cancer sufferer I would like them to share the research money more fairly.

  4. Sometimes it’s necessary to spell things out starkly, sadly.

    25 years ago I lost my father to pancreatic cancer. He survived two years from onset of symptoms and 18 months from diagnosis. He lasted a lot longer than others do but it had a terrible toll on him, his body and the rest of us as a family. My father lost two brothers during his illness and I saw him cry for the first time ever a year before he died, such was the toll of this insidious illness on a once-fit man.

    I seems awful to think it, but I found myself wishing dad had a form of cancer that would have given him a better chance of survival or, at least, would have not caused him the intense pain he suffered each and every day.

    I would not wish this disease on my worst enemy and hope we can do everything we can to improve outcomes for suffers.

  5. I am disgusted by this advert, how can people support using one cancer against another, how do they think a breast cancer patient might feel when viewing this advert, I can tell you by my wife’s reaction – she was disgusted to think that anyone can consider any form of cancer preferable to another. Many of the comments here are ignoring the fact that more people still die from breast cancer than pancreatic cancer each year. There are different types of breast cancer and about 10% of those diagnosed with it will have the very aggressive form for which 10 year survival rates are not known because the treatment here in the UK has only been available for 8 years, prior to this treatment many died with 1-2 years of this form – some still do. This is the form my wife was diagnosed with.

  6. This ad is quite confronting, however it has successfully raised awareness about panceatic cancer. I am not aware of it and therefore I am more likely to donate.

  7. Absolutely agree with all that Trevor Redman says, I lost my husband in October 2013, 7 months after diagnosis, he was given 2-3 months at the time. It’s not about comparing cancers its simple, pancreatic cancer patients want to hear they have an 85% or a 97% chance of survival. Like breast or testicular cancer patients they not be in 85% or 97% but it would be nice to at least have that HOPE.

    1. I have metastatic breast cancer and I was given a 20% chance of five year survival. In fact they really didn’t think I would live a year. I don’t know where you are getting your numbers of 85% or 97% but they are terribly wrong.

  8. I too am also aware of this campaign I have been trying to raise awareness in my own way by distributing posters and e-learning to doctors and their surgerys in my local area..please take this advertising in the way it is meant, the message is getting lost in people being offended .. yes cancer is horrific (ALL CANCER) I have had many family members affected by cancer but the sheer verocity in which pancreatic cancer hits is horrendous, you have very little chance of surviving this disease as it is usually found way too late .. the side effects can sneak up over years, by that time its already too late…it horrifically attacks the whole of the digestive tract as a side effect .. my mom was diagnosed as stage 4 metastised on easter monday 2013 by november 8th 2013 she was gone … 3% survival rate is terrible and the fact that it receives 1% government funding and this hasnt changed in 40 years is madness … all other cancer survival rates have increased due to the increased funding they have received all Pacreatic Cancer Action is asking is that these sufferers have as much chance as anyone else has when they are diagnosed with this awful cancer … to raise awareness where needed (and it is needed) my mom had the same symptoms for 2 years before she got the yellow eyes with jaundice .. the chances are if you have this symptom its already way too late … doctors need educating as well … anyone who gets cancer or is effected by cancer I now look at with horror as having seen it in its ugly entirety I would never wish ANY cancer on anyone .. please just dont let us lose the message this is trying to give

  9. I’m appalled by this ad. No type of cancer should be made light of. I’m offended by this ad as a grandaughter if a breast cancer survivor. Im offended as a daughter of a man who has survived lung cancer and been made handicap by a second cancer. Im offended as a granddaughter of a person who passed from bone cancer after a continuing fight. To make light of any cancer with an ad asking for a different type is unfeeling and ignoring the fact that cancer, no matter what kind is life threatening and life altering for that person and those thst love them. Please please find a different way to raise awareness!

  10. Whilst I understand your need for raising awareness, and can be justified by using real victims, my mother who was diagnosed just a few days ago to read the ‘statistics’ used was enough to form a very serious and upsetting breakdown. Please stop trying to use suffering to justify horrific ads like this. They may well create awareness but could really damage irreparably the people you intend to help.

  11. Wow, I’m just shocked! As a healthcare professional that cares for and supports patients and their families with many forms of cancer on a daily basis, your campaign leaves me cold. I understand your message, both my sister and mum died of ovarian cancer, another cancer with a poor prognosis that can remain hidden, but you cannot compare cancers. Please drop this advertising campaign, please think of all cancers as devastating, please think of another way of highlighting this awful type of cancer that makes people know that it’s a horrible disease in its own right. Thank you, Steve

  12. The survival figures for pancreatic cancer are truly appalling, and I can understand the temptation to use shock tactics to raise awareness. I can also understand the sentiment expressed by those featuring in your ad – I’m sure all cancer sufferers think “I wish I had…” at some point, alongside “why me”! But as someone with breast cancer, I object to the inference that this is somehow less serious – after all, it kills 12,000 women in the UK every year – more than die from pancreatic cancer. Let’s not forget that cancer is our shared enemy, no matter where in the body it originates. Cancer charities should be working together for a cure rather than engaging in some sort of point scoring competition. This campaign is misconceived and ill-informed. It spreads misinformation by implying that some cancers are no big deal. Cancer is always a big deal. There is no such thing as a less bad cancer. And there is no such thing as a bearable cancer diagnosis. Cancer is devastating, full stop. Let’s fight it together.

  13. Personally I’m insulted by the responses that say that those who find the advert offensive are ‘not understanding’ its point. I understand perfectly. It’s time that sufficient research funds and effort were put into the lesser-known cancers, of which pancreatic is just one. However, it is cruel and insensitive to put out an advert that states ‘I wish I had breast cancer’. How does that make the many people starting out on cancer treatment or living with terminal diagnoses feel? Yes, celebrate the advances in cancer understanding and treatment and ask the question ‘why has this not happened for pancreatic cancer?’ ‘what do we need to do’. Yes, publicise the symptoms and the need for early diagnosis (homed in on as the main point of the advert but actually totally irrelevant to the opening statements) but not to the detriment of others suffering in different ways. Advertising campaigns are often devised by ‘clever’ professionals out to make a point by shocking. Regrettably these same professionals have no empathy or sensitivity to the feelings of others.

  14. I consider the hostile reaction to this campaign by those affected by other cancers that are, statistically, either less deadly overall, or where treatments are available to prolong life for longer than can yet be achieved for pancreatic cancer, to be absolutely disgraceful.

    Shameful and disgraceful!

    Yes, ‘all cancer is horrible’, no doubt about that. But the longevity and survival stats clearly show that, like it or not, some cancers are worse than others in terms of outcome.

    Anyone who lacks compassion for someone in a situation worse than themselves – and statistically speaking, most PC patientsd will have a worse outcome than many other cancers – should be ashamed of themselves.

    My own husband died seven months after a very late diagnosis of kidney cancer. My neighbour’s husband died a mere three weeks after a very late diagnosis of lung cancer. I wouldn’t hesitate to consider that my husband was ‘better off’ than his neighbour, simply because he got a good six months plus more of life than his neighbour did.

    Common human decency should ensure that all of us, whatever our circumstances, recognise that there are others in this world who have it worse than we do, and have the generosity of spirit to acknowledge that.

  15. while I am sure your recent advertising campaign is well meant, I as one of 55,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer a year, find it crass,distasteful and a kick in the teeth for all those women fighting breastcancer. Yes many survive the disease but many die too. How on earth can you pit one cancer against another? Many of us from the breastcancer care forum have tried to post comments here but they are ‘mysteriously disappearing, why is this????

  16. Last February my brother died of pancreatic cancer – it was swift and unforgiving. I could not get to see him until near the end – why? I was having radiotherapy to my spine for metastatic breast cancer, I am on long term chemo and about to have surgery to my lungs. Yes I understand the point you are trying to make, my brother said he wished he could have had just a few months to say good bye to friends – it wasn’t to be. However trivialising the deaths of a 1000 people a month from BC is not the way to do it.
    Cancer groups need to work together. You could learn from the success of BC campaigns rather than score points.

  17. If the purpose of the advertisement was to ‘raise a storm’ congratulations on your success.
    However, as someone diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years ago this week, your tactics are offensive, misguided and divisive. How dare you attempt to raise the profile of pancreatic cancer by minimising others, as if breast cancer is pink and fluffy and just makes you a little bit poorly?
    My son was diagnosed with testicular cancer at age 23 and thank God he is still here, but he is here with one testicle and a damaged pelvis through tretament.. And yet your advertisement alludes to ‘a little touch of testicular cancer..’
    Since being diagnosed, I have raised thousands of pounds for CRUK and the money I raise funds research into all cancers. Not just the one I happen to have.
    Pancreatic cancer is a truly awful disease but using shock tactics like this, intimating other cancers are ‘nicer’ is just absolutely disgusting. Shame on whoever sanctionned this.

    1. Pixie, you were diagnosed with Breast cancer two years ago, and I truly am sorry. But if you were diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer, you would likely be dead before you made it to even just a year after being diagnosed. Yes, Breast cancer is harmful and affects many, many women. I understand that. However, women diagnosed with Breast cancer tend to have a better survival rate than PC patients.

      This ad wasn’t meant to offend anybody, but rather to draw awareness to the harsh reality of Pancreatic cancer. While Breast cancer patients can die quickly after being diagnosed, PC patients have a much lower survival rate. You may find this ad offensive, and I understand where you are coming from. However, please realize that Breast cancer has more campaigns and more awareness than Pancreatic cancer, and it also has a better survival rate. It’s not rare to find Breast cancer early. While Breast cancer may kill more women, Pancreatic cancer kills faster and harsher. If you were diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer two years ago, wouldn’t you wish for a different cancer instead of one that only lets around 3% of people live to five years?

      This ad isn’t saying Breast cancer isn’t deadly, because it is. It isn’t putting Breast cancer down, either. But you won’t find somebody with Breast cancer wishing they had Pancreatic cancer, whereas many people would rather take the chances with Breast cancer than Pancreatic. All cancers are horrible, absolutely horrid, but some are more dangerous. Quite frankly, I wish my mom had Breast cancer than Pancreatic cancer, only because she had a higher survival rate with BC. Breast cancer isn’t better than Pancreatic in how it harms people, but it does have a better survival rate.

      1. Very well said. I stood next to my dad when he got “the phone call.” He hung up the phone and said “I’m ****ed. I’m dead.” He knew his chances of survival. He made is 6 months and passed away Aug 27, 2015. Can we please get some equality when it comes to research funding?!? Please!?!?
        November is pancreatic cancer awareness month. My college made a big stink about selling BC awareness shirts. Disgusted me. I tried to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer at my college and got NO support from the administration. Absolutely appalling.

  18. My brother-in-law had Testicular Cancer and not Pancreatic cancer, yet he passed away just six months after he was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer. Not to mention he was only 30 years old and had two young babies. But his life is no more valuable than a 50 year old and the Testicular Cancer Awareness and Research campaigns do advertise the young age of this diagnosis but NEVER have used it to make those who are affected to be more or less harmed or worthy of support because of it.

    These advertisements in which you use another cancer as fodder for the advancement or awareness of another is shameful, especially when you are taking advantage of the successes in medical science and early intervention via exams (PAP, Mammogram) in order to gain attention for your cause.

    People die from every type of cancer and the survival rate -which is never 100%- does not comfort anyone when their son, daughter, child, or parent is taken away from whatever cancer it is. These may be the words of one patient but you as an organization are sanctioning it by publishing this; it has become your own words and it is an embarrassment to those with Pancreatic Cancer.

    Imagine that a person -a mother or a husband- is reading this who has lost their loved one to cervical cancer. I would hope you would never have the audacity to tell that person face-to-face, “well at least she didn’t have pancreatic cancer” but you are trivializing cervical cancer with this advertisement and essentially doing exactly. Cancer doesn’t care which organ it’s on; death doesn’t care what type of cancer you have. Cervical and other cancers may have a better survival rate at the onset but when it takes a life, it takes a life, and that person’s life is just as valuable. And no matter how you defend this or which perspective you offer, this is dishonorable.

  19. Survival rates for Breast Cancer INCLUDE those that are living with secondary disease, those that are living with a terminal dx, those that will die, please dont be fooled into thinking that breast cancer is the best cancer to have, or the easiest cancer to have, it isnt. All cancers are devestateing and ALL cancers are Deadly.

    Here are a few Breast Cancer facts.
    Every 19 seconds, somewhere around the world a case of breast cancer is diagnosed among women.
    Every 74 seconds, somewhere in the world, someone dies from breast cancer.
    In the UK , almost 12,000 women die of breast cancer each yr, that’s around 32 women every day.
    An estimated 39,510 women and 410 men will die from breast cancer in the U.S each yr.
    A case of breast cancer is diagnosed among women every two minutes, and a woman dies of breast cancer every 13 minutes in the U.S.
    A recent text on breast cancer estimates the relapse rate for patients diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer to be 20– 30 percent, for Stage II 40–60 percent, and for Stage III, greater than 90 percent.

    Does anyone still wish they had Breast Cancer ?

    Im sorry but pitting one cancer against another is disgracefull , i cannot think of any other cancer charity that would use such insensitive taglines to further a cause.
    Cancer charitys should be working together Not against each other, Research benefits ALL cancers

  20. why are all comments from any breast cancer care ladies removed? twice i have submitted a comment only for it to be removed , I know of many others that have submitted comments also but these have also been removed sadly .I think that shows a lack of compassion towards those of us with breast cancer.

    1. Well said Linda! I posted a well balanced reply last week firmly disagreeing with the campaign as I’m 2 years post breast cancer diagnosis – and guess what. Moderated out!
      I’m still reeling from last week. Insensitive, Ill informed, hurtful and a very poor use of statistics.
      I have written to Miss Stunt ( and the ASA & Charity commission) but do I expect a response. No I don’t. The poor excuse of apologies are nothing short of half hearted with no hint of true apology.
      We should be supporting each other not shooting others who find themselves in a dreadful situation in the foot.
      Well done on raising the profile of your charity but I’d ask at what emotional cost to others.

  21. This is the equivalent of a political smear campaign. You are downgrading one cause to benefit another. It is true that some low grade breast cancers are “cured”, but 30% or more come back as Metastatic Breast Cancer which is incurable at this time. Many metastatic breast cancer patients feel that mbc does not get equal time, research, or money as early stage cancer does;however, we do not wish anyone to have any type of cancer. I consider myself an advocate for cancer myself, and I am embarrassed that a fellow advocate would wish cancer, of any type, on anyone. I’d suggest trying educational and informational campaigns in the future. These types of campaigns seemed to work well for other types of cancer, without the need to belittle or downgrade the significance of those suffering from other forms of the same disease. Let’s not wage a civil war among advocacy groups. We should instead ban together for more research and funding for all forms of this awful disease.

  22. ‘I wish I had’ is a negative campaign, relying on shock tactics to get its message across. Like all such strategies there are unintended consequences, which distract from the original message. It is by its very nature divisive, dragging in its wake, albeit unintentionally, blame and envy. Surely if anyone could express a wish about cancer it would be that they didn’t have it at all? Not a longing to swap it for another.
    Perhaps my anger stems from guilt. Survivor guilt. I have the ‘right’ sort of cancer. But how can any cancer be the right sort? The real tragedy of this campaign is when people who already have enough to cope with because of this awful disease, end up fighting each other about who’s got the worst deal.

  23. I too wish my aunt had breast cancer. With the success rate it shows she would not be dying in a hospice now after being diagnosed with pancreatic/liver cancer 6 weeks ago. Cancer is a cruel disease not only for the person with the diagnosis but also for friends and family watching on helplessly.

  24. On Thursday, I drove to the hospital to spend my last few days with my terminally ill wife, (hoping she had made it through the night) and wondering if I would be strong enough to tell my 7 year old daughter that Mummy was about to die. With this in my head, I heard news on the radio of this truly sickening campaign. What the hell was Ali Stunt thinking when she created this vile campaign other than “Oh poor me, I have the very worse disease ever and no-one has ever or could ever suffered as much as me”. Pathetic and Sickening!!!! I have news for you Ali, other people are suffering too and more so now due to YOU! If you wanted publicity this much and didn’t care who you hurt then she should have used photos of Jews being murdered at Auschwitz, or maybe Princess Diana’s bleeding corpse, then compare survival rates against that. The breast cancer community is strong and numerous, and has been rightly outraged by this. It has always tried to bring all sufferers and carers together against the common enemy of cancer, not childishly attacking other victims. My wife is being killed by a particularly nasty type of breast cancer known as “triple negative”, which has far higher death rates than most other types. At no point have we or would we ever use this against other fighting their own battles.
    The website shows that this group gets support from State owned RBS and I am hopeful that the breast cancer community will mobilise to prevent further funding of an organisation so lacking in empathy and care for anyone outside of itself.
    Oh yes Ali, my wife’s chance of surviving five year is 0%.

  25. As a person with terminal stage 4 colon cancer which has metastasised to my liver I am well aware of the 5 year survival rates for a person with my condition – around 8 or 9%.

    A friend of mine was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about 6 months before me. The 5 year survival rate for Barry’s condition is as stated around 3%. This is only about 1/3 of the survival rate of someone with my condition.

    Am I glad I will eventually die from my condition and in all probably will not see my two young children grow into young adults and will leave behind my wife whom I love dearly? Absolutely not. Would I wish to change places with Barry? Not in a pink fit. Would Barry rather be in my position – and have a statistical probability of living a further 3 years higher than me? Absolutely.

    However the message has been understood by some people the simple fact is that no sane person would ever wish to contract any disease, let alone cancer which in many cases is a death sentence. Would I have preferred to have heard that I have a statistical probability of living a further 5 years 3 times higher than me? Certainly. Does Barry wish he had a different form of cancer from metastatic pancreatic cancer? Who wouldn’t in his position.

    In my humble opinion any add which shocks the community into putting pressure on politicians to fund cancer research of any kind is a good thing. Let’s not get into a turf war as to where the money is best spent when the statics speak for themselves.
    Peter Newton

  26. I think a pancreatic cancer suffering would ‘rather’ have been diagnosed with almost any other disease/illness. It would stand to reason if any of us was diagnosed with a disease with the very poorest prognosis we would ‘rather’ have been diagnosed with something with a better outlook..whether it’s another cancer or another disease. Maybe if ‘I wish…’ was ‘I’d rather…’ It would explain things better. Common sense please…no one’s trying to lessen the seriousness of other cancers. My 43 year old husband died on Boxing Day 4 months to the day after being diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. He was a kind and reasonable man…he didn’t live long enough to witness this campaign but I know he’d rather have been diagnosed with anything rather than his cancer.

  27. Having lost my 46 year old brother in June 2013 just three weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I totally get where this advert and the suffers in it are coming from. There is no denying that whilst this is in the top five of the most common cancers in the UK , it has the lowest survival rate and receives the lowest amount of funding. Why can’t someone express that if they were to get cancer of any sort, god forbid, they would want the one with the highest survival rate. Anyone would. This advert together with the coronation street story line is done an amazing job of highlighting this hugely ignored type of cancer. It’s about time.

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