How we’re influencing cancer strategies across the UK

We're campaigning to put pancreatic cancer at the heart of government cancer strategy in every corner of the UK

8 June 2022

Scotland 

For many years Scotland has lagged behind in survival outcomes, ranking 33rd out of 35 countries with comparable data.

But finally we have some great news to share.

Over the last year the Scottish Government has been consulting on its new Cancer Strategy for Scotland. We worked hard on our submission to the Government’s public consultation, which included everything that needs to happen to drastically improve treatment, care and survival for people with pancreatic cancer in Scotland in the next decade.

We’d like to thank 50 of our most engaged Scottish campaigners who shared their experiences and ideas for improvements with us, which we included in our response.

In June 2023 the Scottish Government launched its new Cancer Strategy for Scotland – and our voices have been heard at last!

Scotland is now leading the way in the UK, putting the less survivable cancers, including pancreatic cancer, at the heart of its strategy.

"We will focus on cancer types that are the largest burden and have worse outcomes. These include lung and the other less-survivable cancers (brain, liver, oesophagus, pancreas, stomach) that have seen very little progress in the last five decades."

Cancer Strategy for Scotland 2023 - 2033

Read the strategy in full

In the strategy the Scottish Government commits to:

  • improving cancer survival, particularly among the currently less-survivable cancers
  • improving earlier and faster diagnosis with a particular focus on less survivable cancers

This strategy must be backed up by targeted, sustained investment to make sure it leads to real change – and we will be here to make sure that happens.

We couldn’t have reached this pivotal moment in Scotland without our incredible supporters – thank you.

We raised our voices in the Scottish Parliament

Find out about the parliamentary events we held in Scotland and Westminster during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month 2022

Find out more
Raising our voices in UK parliament - Pancreatic cancer UK Humza Yousaf with our volunteer Katie Hendry

What are we calling for in Scotland?

Faster, earlier diagnosis for everyone with pancreatic cancer


  • A new, 50% target for diagnosis of pancreatic cancer at Stage 1 and 2
  • Development of a triage biomarker test for pancreatic cancer, so that every patient with pancreatic cancer can receive a prompt referral to be diagnosed at an early stage by the GP
  • An increase in research funding over the next two years to provide screening and surveillance for those at increased risk of pancreatic cancer
  • Capacity and workforce to fully implement the Pancreatic Cancer Pathway Improvement Project
  • Expand the scope of the Scottish Referral Guidelines for Suspected Cancer, as they do not currently pick up people with pancreatic cancer quickly or effectively
  • Deliver a public awareness campaign focussed on the symptoms of pancreatic cancer

Timely, efficient, patient-centred treatment


  • Review and refresh the end of the patient pathway to make sure there is no gap between tertiary and community care, particularly for palliative patients
  • Drive up Pancreatic Enzyme Replacement Therapy (PERT) prescription rates through the creation of a Quality Performance Indicator (QPI)
  • Expand pre- and rehabilitation programmes to help people stay well before, and recover from, surgery and other treatments

Maximise the impact of research and data


  • Increase research investment in pancreatic cancer to bring spending in line with the other four biggest causes of cancer death
  • Build and strengthen research partnerships between members of the detection research community and experts in implementation research
  • Address patient feedback methods, to ensure the experience of palliative patients is more efficiently captured by patient surveys such as the Scottish Cancer Patient Experience Survey
  • Improve data collection and disaggregation in order to give us vital intelligence in driving pancreatic cancer improvements

Improve support for people with pancreatic cancer


  • Roll out e-health interventions more widely – such as giving patients access to online appointments, information and support
  • Ensure that patients are linked in with the charity sector and the support that it can offer as early as possible
  • Expand specialist psychological support so that by 2032, everyone with pancreatic cancer receives tailored, holistic support from the point of diagnosis onwards
  • Ensure that the possible impacts and prognosis of treatment are fully explained to the patient beforehand, so they can make an informed decision about their treatment.

Wales 

For many years we have been asking the Welsh Government to give pancreatic cancer the attention it desperately needs.

In January 2022 Welsh Government and Wales Cancer Network launched a new Cancer Improvement Plan for NHS Wales, setting out the issues, actions and timeframes for improving cancer services in Wales over the next three years.

We worked hard as part of a coalition of charities in Wales called the Wales Cancer Alliance to make sure that the voices of people affected by cancer were fed into this plan. Thank you to all of our supporters affected by pancreatic cancer in Wales who got involved by completing the coalition’s survey or attending one of our events.

Read the Cancer Improvement Plan for NHS Wales

We welcomed this plan, as a national approach to improving outcomes for people with cancer in Wales is desperately needed, and it was positive to see the plan acknowledge the seriousness of the challenges facing those diagnosed with less survivable cancers, including pancreatic, lung, liver, brain, oesophageal, and stomach.

However, we’re very concerned about the lack of detail around how pancreatic cancer and the other less survivable cancers will be tackled in Wales.

We welcome this plan, as a national approach to improving outcomes for people with cancer in Wales is desperately needed. However, current 62 day treatment standard remains nowhere near fast enough for people with pancreatic cancer.

Anna Jewell, our Director of Support, Research and Influencing
Anna Jewell, our Director of Support, Research and Influencing

We will continue to have a leading role on the Wales Cancer Alliance and will be watching its implementation closely and taking every opportunity we can to speak up and demand better for people with the deadliest common cancer.

Read our full response to the Wales Cancer Improvement Plan

Northern Ireland’s cancer strategy

We played a key role in co-producing Northern Ireland’s new cancer strategy, which was launched in March 2022.

The strategy focuses on preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer, and improving the experience of people diagnosed with cancer.

At present, although cancer remains one of the top ministerial priorities, implementation of the new strategy is limited until Northern Ireland has a functioning Executive. As a member of the Northern Ireland Cancer Site Charity Group, we continue to monitor the situation and act on opportunities here.

Read the Cancer Strategy for Northern Ireland 2022-2032

In addition to our work on the Cancer Strategy, we have been talking to the Department of Health in Northern Ireland about our Don’t Write Me Off campaign and our calls for a faster and fairer treatment and care pathway. They are are keen to move forward to implement the Optimal Care Pathway in Northern Ireland and we will be working closely with them to do this.

We’re telling the Westminster government to prioritise pancreatic cancer

After launching a ‘War on Cancer’ in 2022, the government in Westminster is yet to deliver on its promise to make England a world leader in cancer care.

We’re determined to make sure that pancreatic cancer is prioritised in the Department and Health and Social Care’s cancer plans for England.

Read about our progress so far
Large group show showing members of to the One Cancer Voice coalition on College Green, outside the Houses of Parliament

What next?

People with pancreatic cancer have no time to wait. We’ll continue to do all we can to influence cancer strategies across the UK as they are develop or implemented.  We’ll be meeting with officials, clinicians and parliamentarians to make sure that the new plans really change the dial on pancreatic cancer.

Sign up to our Campaigns Community for updates on how you can help.