According to latest statistics, pancreatic cancer affects more than 8350 people in the UK each year. By the time people are diagnosed, approximately 80% may not be amenable to surgery due to extensive disease. This may be due to vascular invasion of the tumour (portal vein, superior mesenteric artery or superior mesenteric vein) or metastatic spread (commonly liver and lungs).
Symptoms, (unexplained loss of weight, alteration in bowel habit, abdominal pain, nausea, back ache and jaundice), can be seen as non-specific and are often overlooked as a potential pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Pancreatic cancer is more common among people aged 60-80, however, there are cases amongst younger age groups - a devastating diagnosis to have at any age.
Pancreatic Cancer UK's aim is to double survival rates from pancreatic cancer within the next five years, improve patient pathway experiences and raise awareness of this insidious disease. Through funding of vital research we hope to find answers so that more people are diagnosed earlier and receive timely, appropriate treatment. Currently, surgery is most effective in attempting to obtain disease-free survival.
Through November's Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month we aim to highlight the historical legacy of low levels of funding for pancreatic cancer research and raise awareness of the disease in the community, among the public, with government and health professionals. This will be facilitated by visits from the Pancreatic Cancer UK Information and Support team in the community and hospitals where we will run awareness stands.
Pancreatic cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK yet receives only 1 per cent of the total research spend. By highlighting this lack of funding, we hope to get others to join us in our aims to increase pancreatic cancer survival rates through boosting investment in, and focus on, pancreatic cancer research, through raising funds and awareness.