The Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black showed his support for November’s Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month by attending a reception at the Welsh Assembly this week.
The reception, organised by Pancreatic Cancer UK, brought together patients, family members, clinicians treating the disease, researchers studying ways to diagnose pancreatic cancer at an earlier stage and representatives of other cancer charities operating in Wales. The aim of the event was to increase awareness of pancreatic cancer during the awareness month.
Every day across the UK 24 people are diagnosed with the disease and the survival rate after five years is less than 4%, the lowest survival rate of all 21 common cancers. Late diagnosis results in many patients being diagnosed at a point when the cancer has spread to other parts of their body. Pancreatic cancer is still the 5th most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK yet receives only 1% of the total cancer research spend.
In Wales, pancreatic cancer is the 6th biggest cause of cancer death, with 487 cases diagnosed, and 440 deaths recorded in 2012. 5-year survival rates in Wales are just 3.4%.
Speaking after the reception, Peter said:
“I was pleased to be able to support Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month by attending this event in the Assembly. It was good to meet with people who have direct experience of the disease, including some of my constituents. And it was an opportunity to learn more about pancreatic cancer and what needs to be done to change its shockingly low survival rates. Clearly there is more to be done to help improve early diagnosis into the disease so more people are diagnosed at a stage when curative surgery is still an option, and to come up with better treatments for patients.”
Alex Ford, CEO of Pancreatic Cancer UK commented:
“Pancreatic cancer has the worst survival outcomes of any of the most common cancers and we need to do more to improve pancreatic cancer awareness, diagnosis, research, treatment and care across Wales and the rest of the UK. Pancreatic Cancer UK is grateful to Peter Black for supporting us by attending our event in the Assembly and we hope that with increased political awareness will come positive and practical change for patients and their families in the future.”
Notes to editor:
- The attached photo shows Steve Lewis, a pancreatic cancer sufferer from Swansea, Peter Black and Alex Ford of Pancreatic Cancer UK
For further information please contact Louise Ellis, Communications Manager at Pancreatic Cancer UK on 020 7820 6709 / 07584 293 039 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Pancreatic Cancer UK: Pancreatic Cancer UK is the only national charity fighting pancreatic cancer on all fronts: support, information, campaigning and research. We are striving for a long and good life for everyone diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month runs through November each year. This year has included an initiative called Purple Lights for Hope (#purplelights) which has involved supporters holding their own small events with purple lighting or glow sticks to remember loved ones, or organising the lighting up of public buildings in purple. Venues in Wales that lit up on 1st November included City Hall iN Cardiff; the Civic Centre in Pontypool, Torfaen; and Garndiffaith RFC.
This year will also see the first international World Pancreatic Cancer Day on 13th November. Again, many public buildings will light up in purple to mark the occasion – including Caerphilly Castle and the Cenotaph Town Clock in Blaenavon. You can find out more about World Pancreatic Cancer Day on our website here – http://www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/campaigning-and-volunteering/get-involved/world-pancreatic-cancer-day/
Pancreatic cancer is not a rare cancer – around 8,800 people are diagnosed and around 8,700 people die of the disease each year across the UK. This makes it the 9th most prevalent of the 21 most common cancers. 24 people a day die of pancreatic cancer in the UK. As it is responsible for 5.2% of all cancer deaths in the UK, Pancreatic cancer is the fifth biggest cancer killer. According to a recent research study by Cancer Research UK, while mortality for most common cancers is declining, pancreatic cancer is set to become the fourth biggest cancer killer by 2030.