Raising Awareness of Pancreatic Cancer

According to a recent survey (July 2019), Scotland has a worryingly low knowledge of the pancreas and pancreatic cancer, with 61% knowing ‘almost nothing’ about the disease. Moreover, 73% of residents were also unable to name a single symptom, which is considerably higher than other areas of the country including London (66%).

What’s more, 67% of people surveyed in the country could not name any of the factors that increase the chances of getting pancreatic cancer and are therefore unaware of their own risk.  

Pancreatic cancer is not just an old man’s cancer. It affects almost 10,000 people a year and men and women are affected equally, with 40% of those diagnosed under the age of 69.  

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is the UK’s 5th biggest cancer killer (soon to overtake breast cancer as the 4th) and you are 5 times more likely to die of the disease than in a car accident.  

The pancreas is an essential organ responsible for producing enzymes that help break down your food and hormones which control your blood sugar levels. Pancreatic cancer occurs when a tumour forms in the pancreas and currently, there is no early detection (screening) test for the disease.  

Despite having a shockingly low survival rate, it is possible to survive pancreatic cancer: if a patient is diagnosed early and able to have surgery, 5-year survival increases from less than 7% to around 30%. Knowing the symptoms and risk factors associated with pancreatic cancer can help increase early diagnosis and save lives.  

This November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, where more than 80 organisations from 30 countries from around the globe come together to highlight the one of the world’s deadliest cancers.     

Of all the major cancers, pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rates and these numbers have barely changed in the last 5 decades.

Pancreatic Cancer Scotland (PCS) have recently launched the Pan Can Clan to bring together a growing and inspiring community of people committed to the cause and support the vision to make the 2020’s the decade of change for Pancreatic Cancer.  

PCS are dedicated to the people of Scotland whose lives have been touched by pancreatic cancer and associated tumours. They are committed to raising awareness, enhancing education, healthcare, research and support for patients and families in Scotland.

To join Scotland’s fight against pancreatic cancer with Pancreatic Cancer Scotland visit www.pancanscot.org.

To help Pancreatic Cancer Action in their mission to save lives through early diagnosis, visit www.panact.org and order your free Turn it Purple pack.  


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  1. Congratulations, a very timely piece for sadly for far too long too much effort has been directed towards lung and breast cancer and even here, though much rarer in men, men can get breast cancer as well. It has only been in recent years that any mention has been given to other cancers e.g. testicular, prostate, bowel, etc.

    Sadly far too many Doctors are not sufficiently up-to-speed on detecting the early warning signs so a wide education/information campaign needs to be launched ASAP.

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