Ivan McKee MSP is encouraging people in Glasgow to know the symptoms of pancreatic cancer, and is supporting a drive to improve the care of local people with the disease.
Following on from a recent ComRes survey which found that three quarters of people in Scotland could not name a single symptom of pancreatic cancer unprompted, Ivan McKee MSP is joining Pancreatic Cancer Scotland and Pancreatic Cancer UK in their efforts to spread the word about the warning signs of the disease.
On Thursday (8th December), Ivan McKee MSP attended an event hosted by Pancreatic Cancer Scotland and Pancreatic Cancer UK at Holyrood. At the event, Pancreatic Cancer UK introduced its Patient Charter, which informs pancreatic cancer patients about the level of care they are entitled to in Scotland. Setting out the expectations all pancreatic cancer patients should have for all aspects of their care from diagnosis onwards, the booklet aims to ensure patients are equipped to gain the support they need at a difficult and confusing time.
At the parliamentary event, Ivan McKee MSP was informed that there are now close to 800 new cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed in Scotland every year and only 3.8% of Scots diagnosed will live for five or more years. Patients and their families often report variations in the standard of care they receive.
Many report having had little time to take in what is happening and not knowing what to expect following their discharge from hospital, and a shocking 53% say they or their family member were not offered any support when told of their diagnosis.
Ross Carter is a leading consultant pancreatic cancer surgeon and trustee of Pancreatic Cancer Scotland. He said: "The death rate from pancreatic cancer is rising whilst that from most other tumours is falling. For that reason it is estimated that deaths from pancreatic cancer will, for the first time, exceed those from breast cancer in the EU in 2017 (4). Many people are aware of the symptoms of breast cancer, yet most people only hear of pancreatic cancer when they or a relative is diagnosed. Awareness leading to early diagnosis can improve the outlook for patients today whilst we await further breakthroughs from research."
Alex Ford, Chief Executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK said: "We are delighted that Ivan McKee MSP has joined us in taking on this tough disease together. We are urging people in Glasgow to take part in our new symptoms quiz to learn more about the disease, and share that crucial knowledge with their loved ones. Whether you're someone personally affected, an MSP, a doctor or nurse or even someone who has never heard of the disease, everyone can play a role in our vital mission to spread the word.
"It is also crucial that we improve the unacceptable variations in care for patients in Scotland. Pancreatic cancer patients in Scotland should be able to expect a certain level of care, and the Patient Charter will now provide advice and guidance to people to help them ensure they receive this. Our aim is for every patient to be given a copy when they are diagnosed. We are confident that our Patient Charter will help us to transform the lives of people affected by this tough disease in the future."