Pancreatic Cancer UK and Macmillan Cancer Support have teamed up with GPs and people affected by pancreatic cancer to develop 10 Top Tips for GPs, which aim to improve the rate of early diagnosis in pancreatic cancer.
Currently, 80% of people with pancreatic cancer are diagnosed when the disease is at an advanced stage, and surgery - the only treatment which could potentially save lives - is not possible. Nearly 50% of pancreatic cancer cases are diagnosed as an emergency.
Diagnosing pancreatic cancer can be a challenge, due to its symptoms often being vague or attributed to other conditions. The disease also affects less people than other common cancers and subsequently lacks specific information and training for GPs.
Representatives from Pancreatic Cancer UK and Macmillan Cancer Support, along with GPs, pancreatic cancer patients and carers undertook a workshop in order to address the lack of information and support currently available to GPs.
The tips aim to support GPs with the right information about pancreatic cancer so they can refer people for tests which could then lead to a diagnosis.
Important insights relating to pancreatic cancer such as symptoms, risk factors, the relationship between pancreatitis, new onset diabetes and pancreatic cancer are also included in the tips. Details of the free Pancreatic Cancer UK Support Line, which GPs can also call if they need further information on the disease, are also included.
Dr Sinead Clarke, GP Advisor at Macmillan Cancer Support said: “The 10 top tips have been a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with Pancreatic Cancer UK, GPs and people affected by pancreatic cancer to produce a resource that can reach GPs across the UK.
“We hope these simple practical tips will help to increase GPs’ confidence when it comes to pancreatic cancer and improve the experience of patients who are worried about pancreatic cancer.”
Sarah Bell, Head of Services at Pancreatic Cancer UK said: “A full-time GP may only see a new patient with pancreatic cancer every five to eight years. With this in mind, we want to make sure GPs are equipped with the most up-to-date and accurate information so they can confidently assess a patient for pancreatic cancer and refer them speedily for specialist tests if needed.
“By working with Macmillan on this project, we’re optimistic that this resource can reach thousands of GPs in the UK. We hope that ultimately many more people could be diagnosed earlier, and we can help change the future for everyone affected by the disease.”
The top tips for GPS are available for free here.