West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper MP has pledged her support to Pancreatic Cancer UK’s campaign demanding faster treatment for people with pancreatic cancer – one in four patients with the disease die within a month of diagnosis making it the quickest killing cancer. The charity is calling for the Government and devolved administrations to set a new ambition to begin treatment for all pancreatic cancer patients across the UK within 20 days of diagnosis by 2024.

A new report by Pancreatic Cancer UK released alongside the launch of its Demand Faster Treatment campaign highlights that if avoidable delays to treatment were removed many more pancreatic cancer patients could be eligible for surgery – the only current cure for the disease. The charity is recommending the roll-out of a new treatment programme which in a recent trial successfully reduced patients’ time to surgery from two months to just over two weeks.

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“62 people in West Lancashire are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year and tragically less than seven per cent won’t survive beyond five years. This is unacceptable and much more needs to be done to improve the outcomes for people with this deadly disease.

“I hope everyone across West Lancashire will join me in backing this campaign to transform the future for people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and help them receive treatment before it is too late.

“I have also written to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock asking what is the Government doing to ensure pancreatic cancer patients receive the vital care they need to survive, and what is the Government doing to ensure that there is an increase in funding for pancreatic cancer research.”

The charity’s report reveals that pancreatic cancer patients who have surgery are ten times more likely to live for five years or more than patients who do not (22.3 per cent compared with 2.3 per cent) (1). However, at least 90 per cent of all patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer do not have surgery (2). In Lancashire and South Cumbria only 7.5% received surgery.

Currently in England, 57 per cent of pancreatic cancer patients diagnosed at stage one or stage two each year will not receive surgery despite the fact that a significant proportion should be eligible for this potentially life-saving or life-extending treatment (3).

New analysis by Pancreatic Cancer UK shows that if even a modest increase in the proportion of patients receiving surgery (from the current rate of less than ten per cent, to just 15 per cent) was sustained over five years, it could give 2,100 more patients across the UK at least a year of precious time with their loved ones and potentially be lifesaving (*).

To help achieve the increase, the charity is calling for the introduction of accelerated treatment models for pancreatic cancer within the NHS similar to those which are already in place for more well-known cancers such as breast and prostate. This would include establishing one-stop clinics where patients can have all tests to determine their suitability for surgery in one place. Clinical nurse specialists would be recruited to coordinate with other NHS services in addition to supporting patients. Implementing both of these measures would significantly speed-up treatment decisions. The number of tests required, the wait for results, and the need to consult doctors from multiple specialisms due to the complexity of pancreatic cancer are major causes of delays in treating the disease when there is no time to waste.

Diana Jupp, Chief Executive at Pancreatic Cancer UK said:
“We’re extremely grateful Rosie Cooper MP has given her support to our Demand Faster Treatment campaign. Too many pancreatic cancer patients are being denied their only chance of survival because they are simply not being treated fast enough. One in four people diagnosed with this devastating disease die within a month, making it the quickest killing cancer. It’s so ferocious that patients cannot afford to wait. In recent years we have seen outstanding progress in other cancers such as breast and prostate, and a shocking lack of progress for pancreatic. Together we can change that.

“We are urging people in West Lancashire to take on this deadly cancer and sign our petition calling on the government to recognise pancreatic cancer as an emergency. We owe it to all those affected by pancreatic cancer to be more ambitious and make sure that everyone is treated within 20 days of diagnosis.”

One in four people with pancreatic cancer die within a month of diagnosis, making it the quickest killing cancer. Survival for the incredibly tough disease has lagged behind other cancers since the 1970s, with less than seven per cent of people with pancreatic cancer patients living for five years (4). UK survival for pancreatic cancer is behind that of European counterparts: Belgium and Germany have a five-year survival of 12 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.

Pancreatic Cancer UK is calling on the UK Government and devolved administrations to set a new ambition to treat all patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 20 days by 2024. To find out more about the Demand Faster Treatment campaign and sign the petition, visit: www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/demandfastertreatment 

Methodology

(*) Calculations based on unpublished data from our academic partners in the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), showing higher survival for patients currently receiving surgery (less than 10%). We made a prediction of how many more lives will be extended if we reach the target of 15% for individuals affected to receive potentially curative surgery.

This represented 420 extra people surviving one year compared to the current surgery rates (<10%). Over a 5-year period this would represent over 2,000 more people living for at least one year. 

References:

  • Cancer Survival group in London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2018)
  • Tumour resection rate was 9.7% (2013-2015) in England for pancreatic cancer, therefore, over 90% of all patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer did not have surgery. NCRAS Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy and Tumour Resection in England 2013-2015
  • National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service. 58% of people diagnosed at stage I/II receive potentially curative surgery, therefore, 57.42% do not receive surgery. 837.7 people diagnosed at stage I/II, will not have surgery in England every year http://www.ncin.org.uk/cancer_type_and_topic_specific_work/topic_specific_work/main_cancer_treatments
  • (Source: CONCORD-3 (2010-2014), The Lancet, 2018)

About pancreatic cancer:

  • Less than 7% of people with pancreatic cancer will survive beyond 5 years in the UK. Source: ONS, full data here
  • Five year survival for pancreatic cancer has improved very little since the early 1970s.
  • One person dies of pancreatic cancer every hour. Around 8,800 people die every year of the disease in the UK.
  • 80 per cent of people with pancreatic cancer are not diagnosed until the cancer is at an advanced stage.
  • Surgery is the only treatment which could save lives, yet only eight per cent of people with pancreatic cancer have it.
  • Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival of all the 20 common cancers.
  • Around 10,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer per year in the UK. That’s 26 people every day.
  • Pancreatic cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer death in the UK

Source: Cancer Research UK

  • Pancreatic cancer research has historically been underfunded. The disease attracts just 1.9 per cent of the UK cancer research budget.

Source: NCRI 2015/2016

About Pancreatic Cancer UK:

Pancreatic Cancer UK is taking on pancreatic cancer through research, support and campaigning to transform the future for people affected.

  • We provide expert, personalised support and information via our Support Line (Freephone 0808 801 0707) and through a range of publications.
  • We fund innovative research to find the breakthroughs that will change how we understand, diagnose and treat pancreatic cancer.
  • We campaign for change; for better care, treatment and research, and for pancreatic cancer to have the recognition it needs.
Pancreatic Cancer UK Report Cover Image
Pancreatic Cancer UK Report Cover Image
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