Lord Porter of Spalding (Gary) is spreading the word about the vital need for more funding for pancreatic cancer research, and calling on local people to know the symptoms of the disease, after he attended a reception at Westminster hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the disease.
At the event, to mark Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, Gary heard that around 665 people in the East Midlands are diagnosed with the disease each year. In the UK, just five per cent of patients will live for five years or more after diagnosis. Yet, over the last decade, the disease has only received one per cent of the UK’s cancer research budget.
The APPG also heard the results of a recent survey commissioned by Pancreatic Cancer UK, the secretariat of the APPG on the disease, which found that three quarters of people across the UK were unable to name a single symptom.
Symptoms include tummy pain that can spread to the back, significant and unexplained weight loss, yellow skin or eyes or itchy skin (jaundice), oily floating poo and indigestion.
Lord Porter is now joining Pancreatic Cancer UK in encouraging local people to find out more about the disease by taking part in the charity’s new symptoms quiz at www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/symptomsquiz
Gary said: “Pancreatic cancer is a disease which sadly affects many people in the East Midlands, and that’s why I am calling for increased research investment into it, and encouraging people to know the symptoms.
“It is crucial that this disease attracts more funding for research, so new and more effective tests and treatments can be created. At the same time, we all need to raise awareness of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer.
“I was shocked to hear how few UK residents are able to name a symptom, but I’m confident that people in South Holland will rise to the challenge of finding out more about the disease.”
Alex Ford, chief executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK, who spoke at the APPG on pancreatic cancer reception, said: “We are delighted that Lord Porter has joined us in taking on this tough disease together. So little progress has been made for patients and their families in decades.
“In fact, survival rates for the disease have barely improved in over 40 years. This is partly due to a pitiful lack of research which has meant we have not seen the developments in tests and treatments which we have in so many other cancers in that time.”