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Early in December 2022 Pancreatic Cancer Action teamed up with Surrey and Sussex Cancer Alliance (SSCA) to deliver the first webinar to health professionals on new research that shows weight loss and rising blood glucose could be precursors for pancreatic cancer.
The study, carried out by researchers from the University of Surrey, in partnership with the charity and the University of Oxford, has identified it may be possible to diagnose pancreatic cancer at a much earlier stage for one-third of patients who present with new-onset diabetes – up to three years earlier than current diagnoses.
Over 70 primary care professionals in Surrey & Sussex attended the webinar to hear from the author of the research Dr Agnieszka Lemanska from the University of Surrey, and local GP Dr Jo Thomson, (The SSCA’s primary care lead in Sussex) on how healthcare professionals can apply the findings of the research to their daily practice and David Fullard, a survivor of pancreatic cancer.
The webinar was Chaired by Ali Stunt, founder and chief executive officer of Pancreatic Cancer Action, and pancreatic cancer survivor.
“I relish the chance that our research can potentially play a part in helping a large number of patients to be diagnosed early and who have the potential to survive this disease, and I am delighted that so many front-line healthcare professionals have taken an interest in our work and what can be done to diagnose pancreatic cancer earlier.”
Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect, and survival rates are extremely poor. One in four people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in England survives their disease for one year or more, with emergency presentation the most common route to diagnosis. Across Surrey and Sussex, only 27.5% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive the disease for one year or more and one-quarter of pancreatic cancers are diagnosed at stage 1 or 2. Most areas across the alliance have a higher incidence per 100,000 population than the England average and emergency presentation accounts for almost one in four diagnoses of pancreatic cancer.
In November PCA also supported SSCA to launch a pancreatic cancer toolkit for health professionals to aid in early diagnosis.
“The difficulty is pancreatic cancer can be very hard to diagnose. However, raising awareness of the risk factors of new-onset diabetes with unexplained weight loss could lead to an earlier diagnosis. This will help to improve outcomes and survival.”
The webinar is now available for folk to watch. Stay tuned for more updates on how the Surrey and Sussex Cancer Alliance and Pancreatic Cancer Action are working together to improve early diagnosis and save lives.