Yesterday (Wednesday 10th June), we visited Cardiff for a series of meetings with key Assembly Members and the Head of Major Conditions Branch at the Department of Health and Social Services in Wales. Thank you to Kirsty Williams AM and Andrew R T Davies AM for taking the time to speak with us.
We discussed the urgent need for improvements to pancreatic cancer diagnosis and care across Wales.
Joining myself, Head of Campaigns and Policy, at the meetings were (L-R in above image) supporters Mandy Jones and Linda Reardon, who used their personal experience of the disease to help explain why changes are needed, pictured here with Assembly Member Kirsty Wiliams.
A large part of the meetings focussed on the calls for action contained in Pancreatic Cancer UK ‘s new ‘Diagnosis Manifesto for Wales’. The document outlines a ten point plan calling for, among other things:
- greater research funding to enable earlier diagnosis of the disease
- a pancreatic cancer awareness raising campaign
- better training and support for GPs
- faster referral pathways
Importantly, the manifesto also highlights the need for improvements to the patient experience, especially around the way the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is communicated to patients and their families, and the information and support they are offered from point of diagnosis onwards.
Other issues raised included the need for speedy and consistent access to new drugs and novel treatments for patients and the importance of holistic care for patients, including the necessity of dietary support and advice.
And, of course, we made sure both Assembly Members and officials were made aware of just why such change is necessary by explaining that pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rates of the 21 most common cancers. Latest five-year survival figures for Wales stand at just 3.7% and 446 people lost their lives to the disease in 2013.
To help show why change is so necessary, we have created a Key Statistics leaflet which gives more information about pancreatic cancer in Wales, as well as the work we're undertaking there. You can download a copy of the Key Statistics for Wales leaflet here.
We will be holding further meetings and events across the whole of the UK to continue to raise awareness of the disease and to make the case for change amongst politicians and policy makers over the coming months. If you want to get involved with our campaigning and awareness activity - fill in this form here.