November is pancreatic awareness month


Dr Lorraine Chantrill Director, AGITG and GI Cancer Institute

During November, we recognise one of the most difficult to diagnose and therefore treat gastro-intestinal cancers — pancreatic cancer.

With a five year survival rate of only 7%, pancreatic cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer-related deaths in Australia, with an estimated 3,123 new pancreatic cancer cases diagnosed in 2016*

In a recent video interview with Dr Lorraine Chantrill, AGITG Director, she discusses why pancreas cancer is difficult to diagnose and treat:

“Pancreas cancer occurs deep in the upper abdomen.   In fact this has been one of the key issues in hampering research as often people who have this cancer are completely unaware that it is there because you can’t see it or feel it. Often times by the time people have symptoms it has spread outside of the gland and then it becomes incurable.”

Dr Chantrill has been involved in pancreas cancer research for the past  10 years, even though pancreas cancer is a deadly disease, she is optimistic about the future of pancreas cancer research in Australia and worldwide.

“We are very lucky in Australia in that we have very sophisticated research facilities and I am hoping that we can capitalise on those facilities and begin to change the outcomes for people with pancreas cancer.”

The GI Cancer Institute is a founding member of the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance. The Alliance has  organised for  November 17, Pancreas Cancer Awareness Day, 2016, key public buildings to  be lit up in the colour purple, and  raise awareness about this disease. The buildings include:

  • The Quay building in Perth, WA
  • Elizabeth Street Mall, Hobart, TAS
  • Melbourne Star (Big Wheel). Melbourne,VIC
  • Wrest Point Casino, Hobart, TAS
  • Foundation Roundabout, Hobart, TAS
  • Launceston Town Hall, Launceston TAS
  • Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, SA

If you are passing by any of the buildings  on Thursday night, please take photos and email to  We will post on social media.

For  the complete interview with Dr Chantrill  about pancreatic cancer  click here.

In August 2017, Dr Chantrill will trek 83km along the Larapinta trail in support of the GI Cancer Institute. To donate to support her work, click here.