Calls For Increased Funding For Pancreatic Cancer Research As Death Rates Rise

Pancreatic Cancer Survival Rates Have Not Improved Over Last 40 Years


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
MPs have called for an increase in funding for pancreatic cancer research as figures have revealed deaths caused by the disease have been increasing, while deaths from other forms of cancer have fallen.

Labour MP Nic Dakin told a Westminster Hall debate that only one per cent of research cash, which equates to around £5.2 million, is being spent on pancreatic cancer, despite the fact it has the worst survival rate and is the fifth-leading cause of cancer death in the UK.

He added that it should be made easier for GPs to send patients for CT scans in order to rule in or out pancreatic cancer, to end what he described as “investigative ping pong”. 

It was also noted that the survival rate for sufferers of pancreatic cancer has not improved in the last 40 years.

Mr Dakin said: "Often termed the silent killer, many of pancreatic cancer's symptoms mirror other less critical illnesses. Sometimes GPs may not recognise these early enough, looking first at other possible causes resulting in lost time before diagnosis.”

Health Minister Jane Ellison has revealed that the NHS will make a further £6 million available over the next five years for more extensive clinical trials into specialist types of cancer, including pancreatic cancer.

She noted that the disease is difficult to diagnose, but revealed the National Health Service is aware of the issues relating to pancreatic cancer treatment and acknowledges it needs to “do better” in this area.

Labour shadow health minister Jamie Reed said: "As pancreatic cancer threatens to overtake breast cancer as the UK's fourth biggest cause of cancer death by 2030, we need concerted action from the government to improve early diagnosis, speed up referral time, and to improve the development of treatment.”

Expert Opinion
“The lack of progress made on the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer in the UK in the last 40 years is very troubling. We hope that this debate will lead to changes in the way pancreatic cancer is diagnosed and treated.

“Early diagnosis and access to appropriate treatment plays a crucial role in patients’ chances of survival and recovery from all forms of cancer. Therefore we would welcome measures that would allow GPs more freedom to send patients for CT scans.

“It is also positive that the NHS has dedicated additional funding to clinical trials that will hopefully see progress being made against rare forms of cancer, as has been seen with lung cancer in recent years.

“Patient care should always be the top priority for medical professionals, which means it is imperative the investigative ping pong described by patients and MPs comes to an end and patients are able to access the services they require.”
Julianne Moore, Partner