One of the charity’s aims is to help tackle the rising rates of pancreatic cancer, in particular in women, as well improving poor survival from the disease. Only one in every 100 pancreatic cancer patients in England and Wales survive their disease for more than 10 years and this has stayed the same since the 1970s. Worryingly, rates of pancreatic cancer have gone up by nine per cent in the UK over the past decade .
Over this same period the number of people in the UK dying from pancreatic cancer has increased. This means 4,800 women were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 4,400 died from the disease in 2014, rising from 3,900 cases and 3,700 deaths in 2004. Among men, 4,800 were diagnosed with the disease and 4,400 died from it in 2014. This increased from 3,700 cases and 3,400 deaths in 2004. Figures for England published this month show that pancreatic cancer has the lowest per cent of cases diagnosed at an early stage, with just over one in five (21%) being diagnosed at stage I/II .
These Cancer Research UK figures are announced to coincide with new TV advertisements for the "Right Now" campaign. The campaign is designed to highlight the personal impact of cancer in a series of 30 second films and outdoor posters which show the experience of patients going through treatment or being told test results.
Cancer Research UK hopes the campaign will highlight that cancer continues to have an emotional and physical impact, and that research is happening right now to develop better treatments and improve survival for people affected by the disease. It also wants to offer hope as it increases funding into pancreatic cancer research across the country, ranging from clinical trials to find the best chemotherapy combinations to give patients after surgery, to discovering the faulty genes and molecules that make pancreatic cancer grow and spread.
In 2014 Cancer Research UK recruited world-leading pancreatic cancer research expert, Professor Andrew Biankin from Australia, to work at the Cancer Research UK Glasgow Centre. He now leads a team helping to unearth the genetic and molecular secrets hidden within the biggest collection of pancreatic tumour samples in the world. His findings could lead to better ways of matching therapies to patients, and uncover new avenues for treatment.
Professor Biankin said: “Pancreatic cancer is an inherently aggressive disease and it’s often diagnosed late, which puts it a step ahead of us when we come to treat it. We need to be more ambitious and hit the disease hard and fast with new approaches. We need to diagnose these cancers swiftly so patients can get onto clinical trials which may help them. Throughout my career I’ve been determined to increase how much we know about pancreatic cancer. Right now, I’m studying differences in pancreatic cancer cells to find new ways to predict the best treatment for each patient. Increasing the amount of research taking place in the UK allows us to be much more optimistic about the future of beating this cancer.”