On Monday 2nd November Roy Beggs MLA attended a reception at Stormont, organised by Pancreatic Cancer UK, to help spread the word about the disease during pancreatic cancer awareness month, which runs throughout November each year.
Around 200 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year in Northern Ireland and, tragically, only five per cent of patients live for five years or more after diagnosis. Roy Beggs MLA learned about these dreadful survival rates, and the urgent need for people to be diagnosed earlier, as well as more funding for research and better treatments, at the event. He had the chance to meet local patients and their families and representatives from Pancreatic Cancer UK, as well as surgeons, oncologists, and nurses who support people with the disease.
Pancreatic cancer has the worst survival rate of all the 21 common cancers. One person dies every hour of the disease, and it is predicted that by 2030 pancreatic cancer will overtake breast cancer as the fourth most common cancer killer.
Roy Beggs MLA said: “It was a pleasure to attend this event organised by Pancreatic Cancer UK, to learn more about the work of the charity and the support and research it funds. Sadly, the survival rate for pancreatic cancer speaks for itself and it is clear that there is a huge amount of work to be done to change that. There are many people within my constituency who have been touched by pancreatic cancer. We need to do more to improve awareness of the disease to help more people be diagnosed earlier. That’s why I’m supporting Pancreatic Cancer UK during pancreatic cancer awareness month this November.”
Alex Ford, Chief Executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK said: “We were delighted to welcome Roy Beggs MLA to this important event and we thank him for his support. We hope he will help us spread the word about the disease in Northern Ireland this pancreatic cancer awareness month.
“It’s shocking that the number of people in Northern Ireland living for five years after diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is just five per cent, and that figure has barely improved in the last 40 years. Yet across the nation, we know so little about the disease – that’s why it’s so important that we all find out more about it. I would urge local people to find out more about the disease and its symptoms today.”
The symptoms of pancreatic cancer include tummy pain, weight loss, yellow skin or eyes or itchy skin and oily floating poo.
Pancreatic Cancer UK provides local support in Northern Ireland and runs free patient information days and supporter days for people affected by the disease. The charity is also working to improve care for people with pancreatic cancer in Northern Ireland by holding study days for healthcare professionals.
For more information about pancreatic cancer awareness month, visit www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/pcam