By Diana Jupp
Last week saw our fifth Annual Summit take place, and my first in the role of Chief Executive of the charity. Despite the challenging weather with snow affecting most of the UK, we were absolutely delighted that so many of the pancreatic cancer community were able to come together.
Working together as a community is what the Summit is all about. Throughout the day it was highlighted on a number of occasions that everyone in the pancreatic cancer community must work together in order to #ChangeTogether. It was therefore fantastic to see the community so well represented, with health professionals, influencers, researchers, patients and family members coming together and sharing inspiring ideas.
As set out by Professor John Primrose at the start of the day, the NICE guidelines for pancreatic cancer are a real opportunity to make sure people with pancreatic cancer receive the best care and treatment and to prevent variations across the UK. The entire community have a part to play in ensuring that the guidelines are implemented. We want to see the guidelines being met and for our part we will do all we can to raise awareness of them, coupled with taking forward our new Promoting Innovative Practice initiative which we launched at the Summit. We will be working with the pancreatic cancer community to identify new developments in care and treatment that can potentially improve patients’ outcomes. We will highlight and share these examples among health professionals and we will call for their adoption across the NHS in the UK.
We talked a lot about the changes needed in pancreatic cancer care and how sadly things are simply not good enough. We need to talk louder and demand better, and Pancreatic Cancer UK will be leading the way. If you’ve not seen our video setting out the problem, take a look now. The changes that are needed are both big and small. From the big ‘game changers’ like identifying biomarkers and personalised medicine, through to improving the lives of those affected with rolling out enhanced supportive care and ensuring access to Pancreatic Enzyme Replacement Therapy (PERT) as standard.
There is so much that I took away from the day it is hard to focus on just the highlights. However, one comment made by Professor Juan Valle from The Christie in the panel discussion at the end of the day, was that we must learn from every patient. It sounds so simple, but this really struck a chord with me and is a poignant reminder that we must not forget this. To bring about change, we need to learn from every person affected by pancreatic cancer - patients, carers and family members - so that they can be provided with the services and care that will really make a difference.
It’s not too late to make your voice heard and tell us how you think pancreatic cancer care needs to change. Submit your ideas on our Change Ideas wall and help to influence our campaigning work and the services we provide. Together we can make change happen.
We will keep you updated on our progress, so please do watch this space.
Take a look at some of the photos from the day.