Statement about Olivia Williams support for Pancreatic Cancer UK

Posted 25 November 2019

Pancreatic Cancer UK are extremely proud that Olivia has chosen to become an ambassador for the charity and are hugely grateful to her for taking the courageous decision to share her story and help us raise awareness.

We are here for everyone affected by pancreatic cancer, whichever form of this devastating disease has affected them or their loved ones.

We recognise the very valid point raised that neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) do grow in other parts of the body and this is something we are clear about in the patient information provided on our website, and when people call our specialist nurse Support Line.  We support people where we can, and also signpost them on to other relevant organisations.  We invest in research that will help people with all kinds of pancreatic cancers including the exceptionally rare diagnosis that Olivia Williams has, a VIP (vasoactive intestinal polypeptide carcinoma).

Olivia’s cancer occurred in her pancreas.  As a survivor of a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour (PancNET) and someone who has lost a dear friend to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), Olivia knows the devastating impact a diagnosis of cancer in this little known and hard to access part of the body can have. Survival for her type of PancNET may be higher than other forms of pancreatic cancer but the surgery she underwent was still punishing and her years of misdiagnosis will sadly be all too familiar for many of our supporters.

Pancreatic cancer is predicted to become the fourth biggest cancer killer by 2026 in the UK, if decades of inadequate investment in research are not reversed.   As an ambassador for Pancreatic Cancer UK, Olivia shares our determination to transform the future for all patients. Earlier this year, Olivia visited  The Early Diagnosis Research Alliance (EDRA), our largest-ever single investment into early diagnosis research and the largest ever investment in PancNET detection by a charity in the UK, which is a key example of this commitment in action.  The goal of the EDRA, led by a team of researchers specialising in both PDAC and PancNETS, is to find a simple test to diagnose all patients at an earlier stage.  The new tool will be sensitive to both PDACs and PancNETs. Once validated, this tool will represent the most accurate early detection test for the disease ever created and will help doctors save lives.