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Why I chair the APPG on pancreatic cancer

Posted by: Policy and campaigning 18 February 2016

What is an APPG?

An All-Party Parliamentary Group is a group of MPs and peers drawn from different political parties who come together to focus on an issue of mutual interest.

Why did you get involved in the APPG on Pancreatic Cancer?

A constituent of mine, Maggie Watts, came to my surgery and asked me to help her raise the UK’s game in improving outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients. Maggie lost her husband Kevin to pancreatic cancer. Kevin’s mum had died from pancreatic cancer and Kevin’s chances of survival forty years later were no better than hers. I thought that was shocking and wanted to help.

What has the Group achieved to date?

I think we have raised the profile of pancreatic cancer by working with charities, patient groups and clinicians. We have held inquiries and published two reports into why the outcomes for people getting the disease are not improving and what needs to be done to tackle this.

What are the key issues you would like to see addressed to improve pancreatic cancer survival rates?And how can the APPG help make this happen?

Nearly half of pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed in A&E so earlier diagnosis is the Holy Grail we are searching for. Giving GPs direct access to CT scans could help too, as could taking steps to raise patient and GP awareness about possible symptoms. We also need to see more resources committed to research into pancreatic cancer. The APPG can help by taking these arguments direct to Ministers.

How can people get involved in the work of the APPG?

People can visit our website. It gives information of past and future meetings, which are usually open to the public, as well links to our reports.

If anyone wants to be added to the APPG mailing list please email appgpc@pancreaticcancer.org.uk Pancreatic Cancer UK provides the secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pancreatic Cancer.