Mark Menzies calls for improvements to pancreatic cancer survival rates

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FYLDE MP Mark Menzies has said more must be done to improve survival rates of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

The Member of Parliament attended a support event in the House of Commons, ahead of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month this November.

He was joined by patients and family members of those affected by the disease, as well as specialist nurses and representatives from Pancreatic Cancer UK.

During the reception he was told there were almost 8,800 new cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed across the UK in 2013 and 1,071 of those were in the North West. Tragically, only four per cent of patients live for five years or more after diagnosis.

Mr Menzies said: “I know there are many people within my constituency who have been touched by pancreatic cancer and we need to do more to improve awareness of the disease, its signs and symptoms, and do more to radically improve the shockingly low survival rates.

“It was good to attend this Pancreatic Cancer UK event, to learn more about the work of the charity and the support and research it funds. Sadly, the survival rate for pancreatic cancer speaks for itself.”

During the event, Mr Menzies heard about the need for earlier diagnosis, more research funding and better access to new treatments, as well as the work being done by Pancreatic Cancer UK to fund its own research and provide support for patients and their families.

Pancreatic cancer is the fifth most common cause of all cancer deaths in the UK and currently has the lowest survival rate of all the 21 common cancers. One person dies every hour from the disease, and it is predicted that by 2030 pancreatic cancer will overtake breast cancer as the fourth most common cancer killer.

Alex Ford, Chief Executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK, added: “We were delighted to welcome Mark to this important event and we thank him for his support. We hope he will help us spread the word about pancreatic cancer far and wide this November.

“It’s shocking that the number of people living for five years after diagnosis with pancreatic cancer is still just four per cent and that figure has barely improved in the last 40 years. Yet across the UK, we know so little about the disease. We all have a role to play in raising awareness of this dreadful cancer, so people know the signs and symptoms to watch out for.”

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer include tummy pain, weight loss, yellow skin or eyes, itchy skin and oily floating stools.

For more information, visit www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk

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