Pancreatic cancer has the worst survival rate of the 21 most common cancers in the UK, yet shockingly, 95% of the UK public know little to nothing about the disease. Today, Pancreatic Cancer Action, a charity that exists to save lives through early diagnosis, launches a new symptoms song and animation as part of their national Pancreatic Cancer Aware campaign.
The song is a light-hearted way to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer symptoms and drive home a serious message: ‘pancreatic cancer may appear a source of strife, but if you catch it early, you could save your life’.
Despite being the UK’s fifth biggest cancer killer, pancreatic cancer is often overlooked and diagnosed too late. Every year, almost 10,000 people are diagnosed and around 8,800 people die of pancreatic cancer. It has the highest incident-to-mortality rate of almost any disease.
Ali Stunt, founder and CEO of Pancreatic Cancer Action says, “While no early detection test for pancreatic cancer exists, increasing awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disease is vital to improving early diagnosis and the low survival rate of just five percent.
“As a ten-year survivor of pancreatic cancer, I am living proof that if pancreatic cancer is detected early, and in time for surgery, you can survive the disease.”
If a patient is diagnosed in time for surgery, their chance of survival increases from five to thirty per cent2.
November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month, and the Pancreatic Cancer Aware campaign aims to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disease. The public is encouraged to seek help if they suddenly and persistently experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Unexplained and significant weight loss
- Abdominal pain or discomfort that can come and go, which tends to get worse
- Indigestion that’s not responding to prescribed medication
- Yellowing of the skin and/or eyes, dark urine or very itchy skin (Jaundice)
- Fatty and pale stools that are smelly and hard to flush
- Mid-back pain
In addition to the song, adverts will be appearing in national rail, shopping centre and service station washrooms; in GP surgeries; on beer mats in pubs and bars; on bus stops; outside Co-ops and on digital billboards in the highest footfall service stations inside M25.
Campaign materials can be accessed via the campaign website at www.pancreaticcanceraware.org. This includes an interactive pancreatic cancer aware quiz and downloadable materials for healthcare professionals.