Today is World Pancreatic Cancer Day. Pancreatic cancer is the deadliest of all the common cancers with a five-year survival rate of less than 8%. Every year in Scotland over 900 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Our research has shown that despite how deadly pancreatic cancer is, only 54% of people in Scotland know anything about pancreatic cancer; 74% of people in Scotland cannot name a single symptom of pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer Action specifically focuses on improving pancreatic cancer survival rates through early diagnosis. This year, for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, we have launched our #MISSED campaign to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer. Only 10% of the 10,500 new UK pancreatic cancer cases each year are diagnosed in time for life-saving surgery. It is our mission to help change that.

Research has shown that patients visit their GP an average of four times before being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Forty-three per cent of people with pancreatic cancer are diagnosed when admitted to A&E, but by this point, it is too late for any curative treatment. So, in addition to encouraging people across Scotland to check for symptoms through the #MISSED campaign, we are calling for every GP to improve their knowledge of pancreatic cancer by completing our accredited GP e-learning course. We know the difficulty of identifying symptoms of pancreatic cancer which can be vague and difficult to identify even for the most experienced healthcare professionals.

There are over 5,000 GPs in Scotland and we need every GP to complete our accredited pancreatic cancer training if we have any hope of improving the bleak statistics of pancreatic cancer survival and life beyond diagnosis.

We developed our Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month campaign #MISSED to raise awareness of missed pancreatic cancer diagnoses. These missed diagnoses have had huge, irrevocable impacts on people’s lives. Symptoms were missed, and now thousands of families are missing their loved ones. If detected earlier, many pancreatic cancer sufferers could survive - but it all starts with education.

With early diagnosis, pancreatic cancer can be survived. For those diagnosed in time for potentially life-saving surgery, five-year survival increases to around 30%. This presents an opportunity for intervention where people can be diagnosed earlier and live longer, with a better quality of life. We have a long history within Scotland of serving the community of pancreatic cancer survivors and those who have lost their loved ones to the disease. We are growing our presence within Scotland to further serve this community and help raise awareness of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer. We also are focused on working in partnership with GPs, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals to ensure the symptoms of pancreatic cancer are not missed.

This World Pancreatic Cancer Day, we ask everyone across Scotland to join our fight to raise awareness of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer to ensure early diagnosis and save lives. Our #MISSED campaign is dedicated to all those whose symptoms were missed and for their families and friends who miss them.

Find out more at

Joe Kirwin, CEO, Pancreatic Cancer Action