Pancreatic cancer

We all know someone close to us who has been affected by cancer. Sadly, pancreatic cancer is a common form of cancer with a higher mortality rate than others. I'm pleased that tackling this is a top priority for the Government.
 
My colleagues discussed work being done in Birmingham to establish a 'fast-track pathway', which sees a dedicated specialist nurse prepare a patient to receive surgery within 16 days of referral. The results of this pilot scheme are being examined by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). 
 
In February 2017, Public Health England launched 'Be Clear on Cancer', a campaign targeted at identifying symptoms of pancreatic cancer earlier - early diagnosis is key to improving outcomes, and in the NHS Long Term Plan published in January 2019 one of the priorities is to save 55,000 more lives each year by diagnosing more cancers early. This regional pilot included symptoms like persistent diarrhoea, bloating and discomfort. More than 90 per cent of the target audience reported that the campaign made them realise these symptoms could be a sign of something more serious. More than 80 per cent reported they were more likely to visit a GP as a result. 
 
NHS England will shortly be introducing a new Faster Diagnostic Standard for all cancer patients, including those with suspected pancreatic cancer, which will see patients given a diagnosis or the all clear within 28 days. The 31-day standard of decision to treat to undergoing first treatment will remain in place. However, this is an upper limit and clinical priority will always remain the main determinant of when a patient should be treated.
 
I share your ambition for faster treatment pathways across pancreatic and all types of cancer; my colleagues at DHSC are working hard to examine the work being done by clinicians to improve treatment timelines across the country.