Long calls for more pancreatic cancer research

East Belfast MP Naomi Long has called for more research to be targeted towards pancreatic cancer during a backbench debate on the disease.

The Alliance MP, who is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pancreatic Cancer, said the debate, which took place on Monday in Westminster Hall, brought a ‘welcome focus’ on the disease.

It was a response to an e-petition relating to funding for and awareness of pancreatic cancer. The petition states progress on the issue is ‘long overdue’ and such development would improve survival rates.

Mrs Long brought to light the survival rate in the UK, which she said differed from elsewhere.

“There is a clear disparity between the UK’s one-year survival rate and survival rates in Europe, which are often as much as 11 per cent higher than here. This disease is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths in the UK, with the worst survival rate of any. Yet it receives only around one per cent of research spending.

“More funding and public awareness is vital, so earlier detection can be made, which will lead to better survival rates. Many of the cancer’s symptoms mirror other less critical illnesses, so it is vital GPs are trained to recognise pancreatic cancer earlier.

“A lack of funding means there has been virtually no progress on those survival rates in 40 years. That needs to change and I hope this debate was the first step to doing exactly that.”


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