The case for faster treatment

We want to ensure that people with pancreatic cancer are treated as a cancer emergency.

[This page was created in 2019, and the Demand Faster Treatment petition was handed in during March 2019 – read about our handing in of the petition to No. 10, and in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.]

Through our campaign, we demand faster treatment for individuals with pancreatic cancer – within 20 days from diagnosis, to increase their chance to live longer.

Why it is important to treat pancreatic cancer faster

For too long, pancreatic cancer has remained the least survivable and quickest killing cancer. 1 in 4  people with pancreatic cancer die within a month, rapidly progressing to 3 in 4 dying within a year. This can be because they weren’t treated in time.

Currently, 7 in 10 people with pancreatic cancer do not receive any active treatment such as potentially curative surgery or chemotherapy. We want to change this picture, so that more people with pancreatic cancer have a chance to fight the disease and to survive longer.

Pancreatic cancer is hard to diagnose early and so – when it is diagnosed – there needs to be a sense of urgency in treating people with the disease, as it is the quickest killing cancer. People who can have treatment, need to receive it quickly, straight after diagnosis so that the window of opportunity to survive longer is not missed.

Our policy calls are

1. People with pancreatic cancer to be treated within 20 days from diagnosis by 2024.

2. A target of 15% of people with pancreatic cancer having potentially curative surgery – to improve overall survival and to enable an extra 420 people per year to live beyond a year. The 15% target already exists in Scotland.

3. Everyone has the chance to have treatment if they want it, and if they are fit enough to tolerate it.

We know this is possible

We know from funding and reviewing service models in different parts of the UK, that treating people with pancreatic cancer within 20 days is readily possible.

To make this happen we would like to see the following recommendations implemented across health services in the UK. This will help our ambition of faster treatment for people with pancreatic cancer.


1. We need optimal pancreatic cancer treatment pathways.

2. Roll out of fast–track  surgery models across the UK – to support implementation of the NICE Guidelines that recommend surgery rather than endoscopic stenting for eligible people for England and Wales and adopted in Northern Ireland.

3. Dedicated pancreatic cancer clinics for people who are not eligible for surgery – to accelerate access to treatment and increase the number of people who receive chemotherapy.

4. One–stop clinics for people with pancreatic cancer that accelerate treatment decisions for them post diagnosis by enabling them to have a range of tests in one place, on one day.

5. Pancreatic cancer pathway patient navigators – to better coordinate people’s access to care and treatment, often across different services and locations.

Read our policy brief about the campaign, key statistics and our policy asks

Demand Faster Treatment report

Getting people to treatment into 20 days

We support pioneering models of faster treatment across the UK, which have proved that those affected with pancreatic can receive potentially curative surgery and chemotherapy faster, within 20 days.

A model of fast-track surgery in Birmingham

A model of faster chemotherapy in Merseyside