Following our Two More Months mini campaign, Eric Olleranshaw MP (and secretary of the APPG on pancreatic cancer) secured an Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons to discuss access to treatments for pancreatic cancer. With the decision to add Abraxane to the Cancer Drugs Fund to be taken on 6th March, the debate was a vital way of reiterating the importance of the decision to the relevant Health Ministers.
Your responses on Facebook to the question 'what would Two More Months mean to you?' showed just what impact the drug Abraxane could have on lives of pancreatic cancer patients and their families; and Eric Olleranshaw highlighted the campaign during the debate:
"What I am trying to get on the record is the fact that those two more months are critical in this particular cancer. Our worry is that two more months might not look good enough when the judgment is made, but for pancreatic cancer it is a massive improvement."
All your hard work in emailing your MPs and getting involved has paid off - The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, Jane Ellison responded:
"I am obviously aware of Pancreatic Cancer UK's Two More Months campaign and I congratulate my hon. Friend on this particularly well-timed debate. I am fully sympathetic to his points. As he says, two more months can mean so much to those who are affected by this cancer…I will ensure that NHS England is made aware of tonight's debate and the very good attendance. As the hon. Member for Scunthorpe (Nic Dakin) said, that reflects the impatience of parliamentarians, on behalf of their constituents, to see progress on this issue, which we seem to have been stuck on for so long. I undertake to do that immediately in the morning to ensure that the information is with the panel ahead of its deliberations."
The debate also briefly covered the topics of NanoKnife treatment, Maggie Watts' petition (currently over 45,000 signatures - sign it now if you haven't yet!), a UK-wide strategy for tackling pancreatic cancer and the money currently being invested by the Government in gastrointestinal research in Liverpool biomedical research unit, which "has a major focus on pancreatic cancer". You can read the Hansard transcript of the debate on the Parliament.uk site.
Thank you to everyone who took five minutes to contact their MP and help keep the pressure on the Government to recognise the challenges of pancreatic cancer. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook/Twitter feeds for more ways to get involved and help make a real difference in the future.