A plan of action for pancreatic cancer

Monday saw the launch in Parliament of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pancreatic Cancer’s report Time to Change the Story: a plan of action for pancreatic cancer.

The report is the culmination of more than six months of work, which was led by the cross-party group of Parliamentarians and managed by Pancreatic Cancer UK in the role as the group’s secretariat – supported by the Whitehouse Consultancy. The report set out a range of recommendations to improve diagnosis, treatment and care for pancreatic cancer, which remains one of the most deadly cancers and which is set to overtake breast cancer as the fourth biggest cancer killer by 2030. The recommendations covered a number of areas, 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
  • undertake a comprehensive audit of pancreatic cancer treatment to understand why not everyone diagnosed with this disease has access to the same high quality care.

Although driven forward by Conservative MP Eric Ollerenshaw, the report was a cross-party effort which demonstrated what can be achieved by dedicated backbench MPs and peers. The inquiry itself heard evidence from a range of patients, carers, nurses, doctors, civil servants and NHS officials – which acted as a catalyst for productive conversations across the range of stakeholders with an interest in this area. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt spoke at the event to welcome the report and promised to look closely at its recommendations. This shall be the start of a new chapter for pancreatic cancer patients and their families.

Frances Powrie