Policy and Campaigning

‘The Impact of Covid-19 on Pancreatic Cancer Treatment and Care in England’

According to a new report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pancreatic Cancer, the pandemic’s impact on treatment has led to 521 excess pancreatic cancer deaths in England by March 2021.All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pancreatic Cancer Report The Impact of Covid-19 on Pancreatic Cancer Treatment and Care in England

Read the full report here

Click here to read the full report and find out how you can get involved!

Supported by Pancreatic Cancer Action, Pancreatic Cancer UK and the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, the report ‘The Impact of Covid-19 on Pancreatic Cancer Treatment and Care in England’ explores patients lived experiences through diagnosis and treatment and makes clear recommendations to the Government on the action that they must take to ensure pancreatic cancer patients do not continue to be impacted by long-term lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pancreatic Cancer has the worst survival rate of all common cancers, with only 7.3% of patients in England surviving five years after being diagnosed. However, we know that the survival rate jumps significantly if the cancer is caught early.

Due to public concern about COVID-19, fears about burdening the NHS and reluctance from GPs to refer, fewer people got the support they needed. And due to the vague and non-specific nature of symptoms for pancreatic cancer, many people may have been reluctant to present to primary care, with symptoms seen as less important than COVID-19. The APPG on pancreatic cancer report highlights that at the height of the pandemic’s first peak, urgent referrals for cancer were down by 75%, equating to an estimated 2,300 missed cancer diagnoses every week.

Fewer people going to their GP will have led to both delayed and missed pancreatic cancer diagnoses as well as delays in treatment. Resulting in later stage presentation and missed opportunities for treatment.

Those that did not present during the height of the pandemic are starting to come forward as well as those who would typically present at this time meaning there is significant additional pressure on the demand for diagnostic and treatment capacity.

With a backlog of patients now presenting, it has a knock-on effect and delays diagnosis. Early diagnosis saves lives. If the Government does not take action, the 7.3% survival rate in England will only worsen.

Pancreatic Cancer Action believes that the report’s key recommendation is that the Government must act to ensure ‘access to diagnosis, surgery and treatment is fully restored as promptly as possible.

The APPG is calling on the Government to work with NHS England to ensure all Cancer Alliances have systems in place to rapidly increase access to diagnosis, surgery and other pancreatic cancer treatments to work through the backlog and deal with future local surges in coronavirus. Many people with pancreatic cancer have had their surgery or other treatment delayed or cancelled, leading to a significant backlog.

This is where you come in. We need your help in getting the Government to implement the findings outlined in the APPG for pancreatic cancer report. Please help us by writing to your MP and ask them to lobby the Government on your behalf.

We have created a letter template and instructions on how to do this here.

If action is not taken to work through this backlog and support diagnosis and treatment services with the additional pressure, more people will die due to the delay. Early diagnosis saves lives.