Scottish families devastated by pancreatic cancer and MSPs from all parties have delivered a 100,000 signed petition calling for faster treatment of the illness.
The petition – part of a campaign by the charity Pancreatic Cancer UK – calls for the Scottish Government to set a new ambition to begin treatment for all pancreatic cancer patients across the UK within 20 days of diagnosis by 2024.
Three in four patients with pancreatic cancer die within a year of diagnosis, making it the quickest killing cancer. Less than 7 per cent of people with pancreatic cancer live for five years. Around 780 people in Scotland are diagnosed with the disease every year and Pancreatic Cancer UK believe too many people are being denied surgery – their only chance of survival – because the extremely aggressive cancer spreads while they await treatment.
A target for 15 per cent of pancreatic cancer patients to receive surgery already exists in Scotland but it is not being met – the average across Cancer Networks is 9 per cent. Health secretary Jeane Freeman met campaigners to receive the petition, signed by 8,387 people in Scotland. The Conservative, Labour and Lib Dems health spokespersons, Miles Briggs MSP, Monica Lennon MSP and Alex Cole Hamilton MSP, joined SNP MSP Clare Adamson, who championed action on pancreatic cancer, at Holyrood to show their support.
Diana Jupp, chief executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK, said: “Too many pancreatic cancer patients are being denied their only chance of survival because they are simply not being treated fast enough. The fact that 100,000 people have joined us shows just how close this issue is to the hearts of people across the UK.
“It’s imperative we see urgent action from government.
“We owe it to all those affected by pancreatic cancer to be more ambitious and make sure everyone is treated within 20 days of diagnosis.”
Ms Freeman said: “I want to thank Pancreatic Cancer UK for their continued work to support people affected by this disease. We understand a cancer diagnosis is a daunting prospect for those affected, which is why it is vital we support people, right from detection to aftercare. Our £100 milion cancer strategy has a focus on early diagnosis and we want to ensure all patients get the diagnostic tests they need so they are treated without delay.”