Rhun ap Iorwerth AM backs new campaign for fair chance of survival for people with the deadliest common cancer

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM has pledged his support to Pancreatic Cancer UK’s campaign demanding action to give people a fair chance to beat pancreatic cancer.

Currently 93 per cent of people will die within five years of diagnosis , making pancreatic cancer eight times deadlier than other common cancers such as prostate, breast or bowel cancer. The charity is calling for the Government and devolved administrations to produce a dedicated national plan in response to the pancreatic cancer emergency.

At the launch of Pancreatic Cancer UK’s Demand Survival Now campaign at the Senedd on Wednesday 27 November Rhun ap Iorwerth AM heard how, despite progress in overall cancer survival, pancreatic cancer remains the deadliest common cancer. Survival has not improved for more than 50 years and the UK is falling further behind the rest of Europe, with fewer patients receiving surgery to remove their tumour – currently the only potential cure for the disease.

Pancreatic Cancer UK believes it is possible to transform the future for those affected by the disease through a dedicated action plan focusing on: increased research investment; delivering better, faster care; and raising public awareness of pancreatic cancer symptoms through a national awareness campaign.

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said: “It is heart-breaking that 93 per cent of people with pancreatic cancer will die within five years of diagnosis. Nobody should face such appalling odds.

“We have seen significant improvements in the diagnosis, treatment and awareness of many cancers, lifesaving progress that I am hugely grateful for, but for pancreatic cancer to have been left so far behind is unacceptable.

“I hope everyone in Ynys Môn will join me in backing this campaign and help transform survival for this devastating disease.”

A report released by the charity to coincide with the campaign launch highlights how decades of underfunding for research into pancreatic cancer have hampered efforts to improve survival and just 2.1 per cent of the UK cancer research budget is currently spent on the disease. The charity wants Governments to prioritise pancreatic cancer by investing £25m into research annually to help find desperately needed new treatments and deliver earlier diagnosis.

No screening or early detection tests exist for pancreatic cancer and its vague symptoms – such as back pain, indigestion and weight-loss – mean the disease often goes undetected until after it has spread to other parts of the body. Pancreatic Cancer UK wants to see the introduction of a national optimal pathway within the NHS, similar to those already in place for other cancers, to ensure that all pancreatic cancer patients across the UK receive the best standard of treatment and care, as fast as possible. The charity believes that this measure, in combination with a symptoms awareness campaign from Government, could lead to more patients being diagnosed in time for treatment to be possible – giving them the very best chance of survival.

Pancreatic Cancer UK has started a petition calling for the Welsh Government and other governments across the UK to produce a dedicated national plan to transform survival for pancreatic cancer. To sign the petition visit: www.demandsurvivalnow.org.uk

Diana Jupp, CEO of Pancreatic Cancer UK said: ““We’re extremely grateful Rhun ap Iorwerth AM has shown his support for our Demand Survival Now campaign. Decades of underfunding and inaction from Governments of all colours have made tackling pancreatic cancer a cancer emergency like no other.

“The huge strides which have been made in improving survival for other cancers are proof that the UK can do so much better, and it’s time Governments prioritised the deadliest common cancer. With a dedicated plan, we can transform the future for patients and their loved ones. Please join us by signing the petition. It’s unacceptable that people with pancreatic cancer face such deadly odds. They deserve a fair chance to survive.”