Monday 23 April saw Lord Aberdare ask her Majesty's Government what steps will be taken to improve both the quality of care and the overall survival rates for pancreatic cancer patients in the United Kingdom at a Short Debate held at the House of Commons.
Focused on ways in which the Government, alongside others concerned, might help bring hope to sufferers from pancreatic cancer and their friends and families, Lord Aberdare focused on three key issues to be tackled which included: increase research into the many aspects of the disease, find ways of diagnosing pancreatic earlier and raise the quality of care for all pancreatic cancer patients.
The Earl of Selborne highlighted the need to develop tools, such as risk assessments, and improve access to diagnostics. What's more, it was suggested that doctors should always include the possibility of pancreatic cancer in their index of suspicion when presented with a patient with symptoms and always refer patients to a consultant for investigation without delay.
These views were echoed by Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe who stated any new commissioning arrangement and guidelines must provide GPs with sufficient information about pancreatic cancer and the referral criteria - along with a significant increase in research investment and clinical trials.
Alex Ford, Chief Executive at Pancreatic Cancer UK comments: "We are delighted that pancreatic cancer is being debated in the House of Lords - the issues that are being raised, including the UK's poor survival rates compared to many other countries and the lack of investment in research, are of huge importance. We believe that raising the political profile of this lethal disease is essential if we are going to change the current state of affairs for pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of almost any cancer - something which hasn't changed in the last 40 years. "