Mike calls for ‘much-needed’ improvements to tackle pancreatic cancer

Hampshire MP Mike Thornton has pledged to support the recommendations set out in a Parliamentary Inquiry report, which has concluded that NHS treatment for pancreatic cancer is not patient-centered, well co-ordinated or efficient.

Jane_Rymer__Mike_Thorton_MP_and_Lin_Meech.JPGPancreatic cancer currently has the lowest survival rate of the 21 most common cancers and there has hardly been any improvement in survival rates from the disease in last forty years.

The disease is set to overtake breast cancer as the 4th biggest cancer killer in the UK by 2030.

The recent report, Time to Change the Story: a plan of action for pancreatic cancer, developed as a result of the Inquiry highlights a lack of understanding of the disease and its impact. From the evidence presented at the Inquiry, it is clear there is erroneous belief that pancreatic cancer is a rare cancer, affecting small numbers of mostly elderly, male patients.

The report sets out twelve specific recommendations including the need to:

  • raise awareness of pancreatic cancer and its symptoms
  • undertake a whole-sale review of referral pathways and diagnostic services (like CT scans) that are available to GPs
  • carry out a comprehensive audit of pancreatic cancer treatment in order to understand why everyone diagnosed with this disease may not have access to the same high quality care.

Mike, pictured with Eastleigh Borough residents Lin Meech (right), and Jane Rymer (left), whose husband died of the disease in 2013, said, "I was shocked by the findings of this report, and am delighted to lend my support to this important issue. Pancreatic cancer survival rates are too low and I back the report’s recommendations for both improving survival rates and raising awareness of the disease."

Ms Alex Ford, Chief Executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK, adds, "We fully support the recommendations set out in this report. We feel very strongly that in order to improve pancreatic cancer survival rates we need to get more patients diagnosed more quickly and ensure that all those with suspected pancreatic cancer get the earliest possible input from experts at specialist centres. This means, amongst other things, giving GPs quicker access to diagnostic investigations and introducing the screening of high-risk patients." 

The UK does not currently have a formal screening programme for people who are at higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer and therefore a review is needed to establish whether specific patient groups known to have an increased risk should be monitored and screened.

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