NEARLY a third of people in the UK (28 per cent) would wait three months or more to seek help from their GP if they had potential symptoms of pancreatic cancer, research has found.

The figure – at least three times longer than recommended – has been revealed in new polling for Pancreatic Cancer UK, coinciding with Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and World Pancreatic Cancer Day on November 18.

The pandemic is deterring people from contacting their doctor, with 31 per cent of people saying they would delay seeking help for longer than usual.


Of those less likely to seek help, 51 per cent did not want to be a burden to the NHS, while a quarter were worried about catching Covid-19.

Diana Jupp, CEO of Pancreatic Cancer UK, said: “It is hugely worrying to hear that so many people would put off seeking help for so long. Pancreatic cancer has not gone away because of Covid-19 and I would urge anyone with persistent, unexplained symptoms to use the NHS.

“There is no time to wait with pancreatic cancer.

"We do not want people to panic if they have some or all of these symptoms, because most people who do will not have pancreatic cancer.”

In 2019 across the NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group), there were 328 cases of pancreatic cancer and 293 deaths. 

Pancreatic cancer’s vague symptoms mean it often goes undetected until after it has spread to other areas of the body.

No screening or early detection tests exist to help doctors diagnose the disease, and around 80 per cent of people are diagnosed when the disease is at an advanced stage, making it too late for lifesaving treatment.

Despite this, it was reported by the Echo in October that pancreatic cancer patients in Southampton are receiving a revolutionary new treatment called Mobetron to boost survival rates.

It has been described by experts as an “important step” in the battle against the aggressive form of cancer and part of a new “three-pronged assault” against the disease.

Funded by PLANETS cancer charity, Mobetron is the first portable system in the world able to administer the treatment – known as intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) – mid-surgery.

Speaking at the time, Arjun Takhar, a consultant hepatobiliary and pancreatic cancer surgeon at UHS and part of the PLANETS surgical team, said: "Although it is currently too early for long-term outcomes, this is an important development for pancreatic cancer patients for whom survival rates are still poor as it demonstrates change is possible and is coming."

Pancreatic Cancer UK recommends that anyone experiencing one or more of the most common symptoms – back pain, indigestion, tummy pain and weight-loss – for more than four weeks should contact their GP.

Diana Jupp added: “It is absolutely vital that people learn more about this disease, talk to their loved ones, and help us end the culture of silence around the deadliest common cancer in the UK.”