Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month 2023
Every year in the UK, there are around 10,500 new pancreatic cancer cases, yet only 10% of patients are diagnosed in time for life-saving surgery.
This year, for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, we’re excited to launch our #MISSED campaign to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer to improve the statistics around missed diagnoses.
Despite being one of the deadliest of all common cancers, with a 5-year survival rate of less than 8%, patients will visit their GP an average of 4 times before being diagnosed, with at least one patient visiting their GP at least 23 times before a correct diagnosis.
Studies show that 43% of people with pancreatic cancer are diagnosed when admitted to A&E, but by this point, it is too late for any curative treatment.
In addition to encouraging the nation to check for symptoms through the #MISSED campaign, we are calling on the government to keep its promise of delivering 6,000 extra GPs in England. The data shows that GPs are not spotting symptoms early enough but with the workforce overworked and overstretched, the extra 6,000 GPs would help GPs more time to spend on diagnosis and education.
As well as 6,000 more GPs, we are calling for every UK GP to improve their knowledge of pancreatic cancer by completing our accredited GP e-learning course. We know the difficulty of identifying symptoms of pancreatic cancer which can be vague and difficult to identify even for the most experienced healthcare professionals.
Our Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month campaign #MISSED was developed to raise awareness of all the missed pancreatic cancer diagnoses that have had huge, irrevocable impacts on people’s lives. Symptoms were missed, and now thousands of families are missing their loved ones. If detected earlier, many pancreatic cancer sufferers could survive – but it all starts with education.
Many of the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer are ambiguous, leading to missed or delayed diagnoses. To date, over 7,000 GPs in the UK have completed our e-learning and we know from their first-hand experience that this has made a real difference in saving lives. But this simply isn’t enough – we need every GP in the UK to have completed our training (there are over 45,000 GPs nationally) if we have any hope of improving the current statistics – statistics that paint a bleak picture of pancreatic cancer survival and life beyond pancreatic cancer.”
With early diagnosis, pancreatic cancer can be survived. For those diagnosed in time for potentially life-saving surgery, 5-year survival increases to around 30%. This presents an opportunity for intervention where people can be diagnosed earlier and live longer with a better quality of life.
Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month is vital in the fight to raise awareness of the symptoms and to ensure early diagnosis and save lives.
Our #MISSED campaign is for all those whose symptoms were missed and for their families and friends who miss them.