18 November is World Pancreatic Cancer Day, to raise awareness of this condition, which kills over 800 people across Scotland each year - often within weeks of diagnosis.
Although the 5-year survival rate has increased from 3% to just under 8% over the past decade, this is clearly too little and too slow.
An important factor will be that public awareness levels UK are low: a whopping 52% of people know ‘almost nothing’ about the disease, and 76% can’t name a single symptom.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
"Pancreatic cancer is a ruthless disease that seems to creep up on people and survival rates are shocking.
"However, there is some hope: when diagnosed in time for potentially life-saving surgery, patients' 5-year survival rates increase to around 30%.
"It is hugely important that we educate ourselves and each other about pancreatic cancer and possible symptoms; and please contact your GP if you start regularly experiencing one or more symptoms which are not normal for you."
Some of the main symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer are:
• Jaundice • Upper abdominal or mid back pain/discomfort • Pale and smelly stools • Loss of appetite • Indigestion • Nausea and vomiting • New onset of diabetes • Change in bowel habit • Unexplained weight loss
For detailed information and support, visit the Pancreatic Cancer Action website.
Since 2011, November is Pancreatic Cancer Month.