'Only one in three' pancreatic cancer patients offered life-extending treatment

Two thirds of pancreatic cancer patients are being told that there is no way of treating their cancer after they receive a diagnosis, a charity has warned.

Analysis by the charity Pancreatic Cancer UK found that only 34% of people with pancreatic cancer will receive some kind of surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

It said that patients with other cancers are more than twice as likely to receive these life-extending or potentially life-saving treatments.

The majority of pancreatic cancer patients (80%) are diagnosed at a late stage, which usually means that potentially life-saving treatment is not an option.

The charity said there needs to be a "step change" in the way that people with the disease are diagnosed, treated and cared for.

Diana Jupp, chief executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK, said: "Having a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is devastating for all patients, but seven in 10 are then completely shattered by the news that there is no way of treating their cancer.

"All they are offered is some relief for their symptoms, and they face an awful prognosis.

"We must now bring about a new dawn for people affected by the disease. More patients must receive treatment which will give them the best chance of living for longer, or surviving - and everyone diagnosed must receive the best possible treatment and care for them.

"To achieve this step change for people affected, we need patients to be diagnosed earlier and more treatment options for those who are diagnosed.

"The recently published National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) guidelines on the management of the disease must be followed, to ensure variations in treatment and care are a thing of the past. We need research funders to invest in pancreatic cancer to bring about more clinical trials. Everyone affected by pancreatic cancer deserves this progress, and we must bring about this vital change together."

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer include: tummy and back pain, unexplained weight loss, indigestion, changes to bowel habits, recently diagnosed diabetes and jaundice.

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