Signs of pancreatic cancer often not taken seriously, charity says
Official figures show that less than 7% of people with pancreatic cancer will survive beyond five years in the UK.
One in three adults would not be concerned if they were suffering from key symptoms of pancreatic cancer, a charity said.
In a poll by Pancreatic Cancer UK, 35% of adults said they would not be anxious if they were suffering from a few of the signs of the disease including stomach pain, indigestion, unexplained weight loss or a change in bowel habits.
The charity is concerned people may not take symptoms seriously and raise them with their GP.
Its survey of more than 4,000 adults, released to mark the start of pancreatic cancer awareness month, also found that few understood how serious the disease is.
Many were unaware of the poor survival rates and one in five believed that typical patients live for at least five years after diagnosis, the charity said.
But official figures show that less than 7% of people with pancreatic cancer will survive beyond five years in the UK.
“We must all be aware of the possible signs of pancreatic cancer, and of the devastating impact this disease can have, because 93% of people diagnosed will not live beyond five years,” said chief executive Alex Ford.
“This is in large part due to 80% of patients being diagnosed at a late stage, when treatment options are very limited.
“If people would not be concerned if they spotted a number of the possible symptoms, and at the same time not understand the seriousness of pancreatic cancer, they may not take action quickly enough, which could then delay diagnosis and treatment.
“The earlier people are diagnosed, the more likely they are to be able to have surgery, which is the one treatment which can save lives. This November, please join us and get on Purple Alert for pancreatic cancer, and together we will take on this tough cancer.”
:: According to Pancreatic Cancer UK, common symptoms of the disease include: tummy and back pain, unexplained weight loss, indigestion, and changes to bowel habits including floating poo.
Other symptoms include loss of appetite, jaundice (yellow skin or eyes) or itchy skin, feeling and being sick, difficulty swallowing and recently diagnosed diabetes.