Our response to the Scotland Cancer Strategy consultation

During April and May 2022, the Scottish Government ran a public consultation on a new national cancer strategy.

This is a huge opportunity to improve pancreatic cancer outcomes in Scotland – a country that currently lags behind in survival outcomes, ranking 33rd out of 35 countries with comparable data.

We’ve worked hard on our submission to the Government’s public consultation. In it is everything that needs to happen to drastically improve treatment, care and survival for people with pancreatic cancer in Scotland in the next decade – from early diagnosis, to better treatment, to innovative research and holistic support and information. If the Scottish Government takes our suggestions on board, we’ll see dramatic improvements by 2032. 

We also sought contributions from 50 of our most engaged Scottish campaigners, whose comments and views we have included in our response. 

Read our submission

What we’re calling for in our response

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.

What next?

We’ll now be doing everything we can to make sure that the Scottish Government sit up and pay attention to what we’ve asked for. We’ll be meeting with officials, clinicians and parliamentarians to make sure that as many people as possible understand that this new cancer plan is a game-changing opportunity for pancreatic cancer – and one that cannot be wasted. 

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