In 2019, it is estimated that 3,599 new cases of pancreatic cancer will be diagnosed, and 3,051 people will die as a result of this disease. Only 1 in 10 people diagnosed will survive beyond 5 years. Changing these statistics is one of the priorities of the GI Cancer Institute. World Pancreatic Cancer Day is on the 21st of November and we invite you to get involved by talking with family and friends about pancreatic cancer on this day and throughout November.
Pancreatic cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers, with 8 deaths every day – the same number as those with breast cancer. We need to demand better – more awareness in the community, more funding for research, and better treatments for people when they are diagnosed.
It is also a complex cancer to treat, as the pancreas is a vital, yet well-hidden organ, with a structure that means standard cancer treatments are often ineffective. The nature of the disease also means that symptoms often do not appear until the cancer has spread beyond the pancreas. Early detection is rare and treatment often impossible in many cases. One of our research priorities is conducting “out of the box” clinical trials to find better treatments for this disease.
To this end the GI Cancer Institute has recently opened the Phase II MASTERPLAN trial, treating pancreatic cancer patients with highly targeted radiotherapy. We are also seeking funding for the pilot trial Neo-IMPACT, which we hope to launch in 2020. This will investigate the potential of immunotherapy treatments before surgery. In addition, we are looking to run the RANDOMS sub-study to examine how changes in body composition affect pancreatic cancer patients. More attention needs to be paid to pancreatic cancer, and new approaches to treatment will be needed to improve outcomes for those diagnosed. Bringing greater awareness to this disease and funding for more research into pancreatic cancer will be key to treating this disease in the future.