Two Thirds of Pancreatic Cancer Patients Don’t Receive Needed Treatments. Why?

The Southern Daily Echo originally reported that a majority of pancreatic cancer patients don’t receive life-extending treatment after diagnosis. Recently, the Pancreatic Cancer UK charity reported that only a small 34% of these patients are treated for their cancer with surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. It’s known that patients battling other types of cancers are twice as likely to get treatment to extend, or even save, their lives in comparison to those with pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer can cause stomach or back pain, weight loss, bowel problems, indigestion and more. It’s an aggressive cancer that often leads to death. One primary reason these cancer patients don’t receive the treatment they need is because about 80% of patients that are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are diagnosed at a later stage. Therefore, no life-saving treatment will work; it’s often too late to be seen as effective. At this point, these patients are offered treatments to reduce pain induced from symptoms, but nothing to actually treat the cancer.

The chief executive of the charity organization, Diana Jupp, shared that anyone receiving news of pancreatic cancer diagnosis is devastating, but especially for the 7 out of 10 who receive the news that their diagnosis is terminal. Receiving some type of symptom relief is their best and only option.

Jupp also mentioned that something needs to be done as these patients deserve the chance to receive treatment. To achieve change, there needs to be steps taken to find diagnoses faster than before, so that when a patient is diagnosed, they are still at a stage that is treatable.

For this to happen, more research investments have to take place. There needs to be more funding, so that there can be more clinical trials leading to more efficient diagnoses. New blood tests may lead to quicker diagnosis times. Every person diagnosed deserves a chance at life. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence supports the idea that progress needs to happen for change to take place.

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