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First ever European Index of pancreatic cancer care results

Posted by: Comms 18 March 2014

New report highlights more needs to be done to improve poor pancreatic cancer survival rates 

The Consumer Health Index launches today, stating pancreatic cancer "has overtaken stomach cancer to become the fourth largest cancer cause of death in the EU". Despite ranking 5th in the overall Euro Pancreatic Cancer Index, the UK must take more action to improve the "shockingly poor survival rate".

Ms Alex Ford, Chief Executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK comments: "Whilst we welcome this report we would like to see future studies that help to explain whythere are differences in how European countries rate against each other, especially in relation to pancreatic cancer survival, not just identifying that there aredifferences. This is the only way we can learn the lessons that will lead to practical and improved patient outcomes in the UK.  

"Although the UK ranks 5th in the index overall, at the end of the day it is the survival data which is most important and we are extremely concerned that UK five-year survival rates are the worst of all countries measured. At 3.3%, post diagnosis, this means that the UK lags far behind many of our Eastern European neighbours, such as Poland and Slovakia - and is a figure which we know has barely improved in the past 40 years. Alongside this, the survey confirms that NHS waiting times for treatment are too long - something Pancreatic Cancer UK knows only too well from our conversations with those affected by this disease. It is also disappointing that data from many countries that took part in the development of the Index was incomplete, which makes it difficult to fully assess how  countries rate against each other. 

Pancreatic Cancer UK's "Campaign for Hope" sets out two ambitious yet clear goals: to double five-year pancreatic cancer survival rates within the next five years and to change the NHS experience of pancreatic cancer patients from one of the worst to one of the best. To achieve these goals - particularly a doubling of survival rates - we now need to build on this data and have an urgent and thorough review of what is happening on the ground in the NHS, to work out why the UK has lower survival rates than many other European countries.'' 

Pancreatic cancer is the 5th most common cause of all cancer deaths in the UK and it is predicted that by 2030 it will overtake breast cancer as the 4th most common cancer killer.  

The European Pancreatic Cancer Index [EPCI 2014] was carried out by the Sweden-based research organisation Health Consumer Powerhouse, funded by a grant from biopharmaceutical company, Celgene. It looked at six core areas, including, patient rights and information, accessibility; prevention; outcomes; diagnostics; treatments and pharmaceuticals; palliative care.