Half of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer die within three months, and only 7% survive more than five years. Implementing this new pathway has the potential to change that.

Please download the letter to send to the Health Secretary,  Victoria Atkins MP, below.

Letter to the Health Secretary

Download as a word document
War on Cancer

Rt Hon Victoria Atkins MP
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
Department of Health and Social Care
39 Victoria Street
London SW1H 0EU

November 2023

Dear Secretary of State,

I am writing to you, on behalf of a number of my constituents, about the launch of Pancreatic Cancer UK’s Don’t Write Me Off campaign.

Thie campaign is backed by a report, a copy of which you can find here, which was brought together by a team of experts, healthcare professionals and people affected by pancreatic cancer, and outlines the state of care for pancreatic cancer patients across the country.

Survival rates have barely improved in 50 years, and this report aims to tackle that by proposing an optimal care pathway for pancreatic cancer. This could be adopted across England to ensure marked improvements in outcomes for people diagnosed with the disease.

Pancreatic cancer is the deadliest common cancer – with half of people diagnosed dying within three months, and only 7% surviving more than five years. I was shocked to learn that 70% of people diagnosed with this disease receive no treatment between diagnosis and death, an appallingly high amount. We also lag far behind comparable nations in our survival rates, and have the worst rates of any G7 nation.

Implementing an optimal care pathway could make a major difference to the lives of people affected by pancreatic cancer. It could double treatment and survival rates and see 5,000 more people with pancreatic cancer living longer and better lives over the next five years if it was introduced today.

The report sets out recommendations that your Department could take to ensure faster, fairer treatment and care for people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. These changes would improve their chances of survival and their quality of life. These include:

  • Implement a 21-day treatment standard for people with pancreatic cancer from the point of diagnosis to first treatment.
  • Commit to additional specialist pancreatic cancer roles in every Cancer Alliance or Network so everyone gets advice, care and support from dedicated expert professionals from the point of diagnosis.
  • Undertake a comprehensive review of the pancreatic cancer workforce, identify gaps and urgently provide the funding to ­fill them as part of the new NHS workforce strategy.

I would be very grateful if you could tell me what plans your Department has to act on the recommendations within this report, and how it plans to improve outcomes and survival rates for people with pancreatic cancer.

I would also ask you to meet with Pancreatic Cancer UK, so they can brief you on their recommendations and discuss how these can be taken forward by the government. Please get in touch with jacob.sinkins@pancreaticcancer.org.uk to arrange this.

Many thanks in advance for your support on this vitally important issue.

Yours sincerely,

[MP name]