This June we will be launching three of our key initiatives in Northern Ireland at the same time. We will be raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer with the public, GPs, and Pharmacy teams with the goal of increasing awareness and early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
We hope that this pancreatic cancer awareness campaign will significantly help increase awareness of pancreatic cancer in Northern Ireland and contribute to early diagnosis.
What are we going to do?
142 GP surgeries across Northern Ireland will receive a PCA GP pack which will include information about our e-learning module to encourage as many GPs in each surgery to further their knowledge of the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer. The pack will also include: diagnostic guidelines, a symptom reminder pen and how to access information for patients.
538 pharmacies across Northern Ireland will receive a PCA pharmacy pack which will include a variety of similar materials to the GP pack as well as pharmacy specific materials such as a printed e-learning module. Pharmacists and pharmacy staff are a key point of contact for the general public who need advice on over the counter medication and so, we think they are perfectly placed to identify symptoms that tend to be disregarded by patients as mere inconveniences (e.g: indigestion and loss of appetite).
We have decided to focus our efforts on raising awareness in Northern Ireland through several different advertising channels. If you’re based in Northern Ireland, this June you can expect to see our awareness campaign: across the sides of buses; at bus stops; in the newspaper; on pharmacy bags; and in GP surgeries!
Why Northern Ireland?
According to statistics from a recent survey, awareness of pancreatic cancer in Northern Ireland is the lowest in the whole of the UK, where only 2% of the population know a lot about the disease.
Currently, 48% of people in Northern Ireland believe that there are screening tests for all cancers and 89% of people believe that cancer survival rates have significantly improved in the last 40 years (sadly, neither of these statements is true for pancreatic cancer).
When told that the survival rate for the disease is less than 7%, 48% of people were shocked to hear of this devastatingly low statistic; which is why we hope that this pancreatic cancer awareness campaign will significantly help increase awareness of pancreatic cancer in Northern Ireland and contribute to early diagnosis.
Increase in pancreatic cancer cases
There are around 250 cases of pancreatic cancer every year in Northern Ireland. However, projected annual change in the number of cases is expected to increase in males by 29% by 2020 and 76% by 2035. In females, a bigger increase of 34% by 2020 and 108% of 2035.
This predicted increase in Northern Ireland could be due to a variety of different factors. As our recent survey highlights:
- 62% of people know nothing about the symptoms of pancreatic cancer
- 87% can’t name 3 symptoms of pancreatic cancer with certainty
- Only 15% of people would go to A&E if their skin was itchy and turning yellow (jaundice – a major symptom of pancreatic cancer)
Delay in seeing the doctor
Our research shows that 40% of people said they were worried about wasting the doctors time and 34% of people said they were too embarrassed to go to the doctors. In addition, 25% of people said they were too busy to go to the doctors.
These barriers to seeking help are highest in Northern Ireland compared to the rest of the UK according to one study.
I want to get involved, what can I do?
Whether you are in Northern Ireland or another part of the UK, you can help us raise awareness of pancreatic cancer. Look out for social media template and ideas on how you can support the campaign!
As a small charity we have concentrated our efforts in small regions of the UK as funds have allowed. However, our ambition is to help us get this campaign to all corners of the UK.