Pancreatic Cancer: 27th November 2012

Naomi Long (Belfast East) (Alliance)
10. How much the Government have spent on (a) treatment, (b) diagnosis and (c) raising awareness of pancreatic cancer since May 2010. [129944]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Anna Soubry)
We cannot provide the absolute figures on how much we have spent on pancreatic cancer in particular, but some £200 million has been spent on cancers of that type. This month is pancreatic cancer awareness month and I welcome all the hon. Lady’s work towards that.

Naomi Long
I recently met some families in my constituency who have been directly affected by pancreatic cancer. One of their main concerns is late diagnosis, which contributes to this cancer having the worst survival rate of the 21 most common cancers in the UK. What assessment has the Department made of the recommendations in the early diagnosis report by Pancreatic Cancer UK, such as improved referral pathways and assessment tools, direct access for GPs to diagnostic tools, and the development of a National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence quality standard for pancreatic cancer as a means of improving the speed of diagnosis and survival?

Anna Soubry
I am very grateful for the work of Pancreatic Cancer UK. We have put the proposals from its seminar last June into the guidance that we are issuing. I am meeting Pancreatic Cancer UK, other cancer charities and other people who are involved in cancer work this afternoon. I will be happy to raise the matter with them directly and to meet the hon. Lady and representatives of this very good cancer charity. She is right to expose the fact that this cancer is difficult to diagnose. We will be launching pilots in January and I hope that more people will take advantage of that campaign and come forward if they have any symptoms.