National charity, Pancreatic Cancer Action, are running a 6-month campaign targeting GP surgeries in the North West and South West to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer amongst the public and to provide supporting resources to GPs. Starting in September, the campaign will consist of large posters and leaflets for the public in waiting rooms, along with resource packs including the latest updates on the disease and information on PCA’s e-learning module for the GPs.
Survival rates for pancreatic cancer remain very low at just under 7% of patients surviving 5 years. This can be attributed to symptoms of the disease being vague, low public awareness, and there currently being no effective screening test to detect the disease. It is because of these factors that pancreatic cancer can be difficult for GPs to diagnose and why Pancreatic Cancer Action are providing free resources to help GPs diagnose the disease as early as possible.
Pancreatic Cancer Action are targeting the North West as it has a higher than average incidence rate of cancer as 1071 people were diagnosed and 977 died from the disease in 2015.
Statistics show that the 1-year net survival for pancreatic patients diagnosed by their GP is 31%, in comparison to patients who were diagnosed by emergency which is 12%.
The campaign was first piloted in Glasgow and Surrey in 2017 and proved hugely successful. A GP in Glasgow said: “I had a few patients that presented with possible symptoms that I checked out due to this campaign.”
Pancreatic cancer, the UK’s 5th biggest cancer killer, is becoming an increasingly urgent problem in the UK. By 2025 deaths from pancreatic cancer are predicted to be 25% higher than breast cancer in the EU.
Ellen Anthony, Health and Information Officer at Pancreatic Cancer Action, says, “GPs play a vital role in making the crucial early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer which can give patients a much higher chance of longer-term survival if they are diagnosed in time for surgery, currently the only potential we have for a cure.
We understand how difficult it can be for GPs to diagnose pancreatic cancer, especially in the early stages, that’s why running both a public-centred awareness campaign and providing free resources for GPs is so important.”
Pancreatic Cancer Action is committed to working towards earlier diagnosis of the disease so that surgery, currently the only cure, is made available to the sufferer. The charity fund research into early diagnosis, provide medical education programmes, and launch awareness campaigns.
If you would like to find out more information about the charity or support us, go to www.pancreaticcanceraction.org
If you are a GP and would like a pack or if you would like a pack for your GP surgery then you can get your free pack here www.panact.org/gp-pack alternatively call 0303 040 1770 or firstname.lastname@example.org.