November was Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and I joined calls for further investment into pancreatic cancer research.
During an event hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for pancreatic cancer the event, I learned that around 840 people in London are diagnosed with the disease each year. In the UK, just five per cent of patients will live for five years or more after diagnosis. Yet, over the last decade, the disease has only received one per cent of the UK’s cancer research budget.
I also heard the results of a recent survey commissioned by Pancreatic Cancer UK, which found that three quarters of people across the UK were unable to name a single symptom. Symptoms include tummy pain that can spread to the back, significant and unexplained weight loss, yellow skin or eyes or itchy skin (jaundice), oily floating poo and indigestion. I am now joining Pancreatic Cancer UK in encouraging local people to find out more about the disease by taking part in the charity’s new symptoms quiz here.
Pancreatic cancer is a disease which sadly affects many people in London, and that’s why I am calling for increased research investment into the disease, and encouraging people to know the symptoms.
It truly is crucial that this disease attracts far more funding for research, so new and more effective tests and treatments can be created. And at the same time, we all need to raise awareness of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer. I was shocked to hear how few UK residents are able to name a symptom, but I’m confident that people in Sutton and Cheam will rise to the challenge of finding out more about the disease this pancreatic cancer awareness month.
Alex Ford, Chief Executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK, who spoke at the APPG on pancreatic cancer reception, said: “We are delighted that Paul Scully MP has joined us in taking on this tough disease together. So little progress has been made for patients and their families in decades. In fact, survival rates for the disease have barely improved in over 40 years. This is partly due to a pitiful lack of research which has meant we have not seen the developments in tests and treatments which we have in so many other cancers in that time.
“This simply must change, so it is great to have Paul Scully MP’s support in our ongoing efforts to increase pancreatic cancer research funding. His support will also be vital in helping us raise awareness about the symptoms. We are urging people in Sutton and Cheam to join us by taking part in our new symptoms quiz, and sharing that crucial knowledge with their loved ones.”
The APPG on pancreatic cancer was created in 2012, and aims to keep the disease high on the political agenda, through debates and oral and written questions. The APPG allows MPs and Peers to meet people affected by pancreatic cancer, researchers, GPs and other healthcare professionals, and other stakeholders to share ideas to ultimately change the future for people affected by the disease.
For more information about the APPG on pancreatic cancer, please visit their website here.