OVID: Pancreatic Cancer UK Summit 2019

OVID: Pancreatic Cancer UK Summit 2019


The conference brought together patients, healthcare professionals, academics, policy-makers, politicians and supporters for an honest, passionate and detailed review of the UK’s pancreatic cancer environment. Key announcements from Pancreatic Cancer UK (PCUK) included the results of their patient feedback survey, which underlined the need for more psychological support for patients, alongside the perceived lack of information provided to people at the point of diagnosis.



  • 3 in 5 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at advanced stage where curative surgery may not be possible.
  • PCUK are bringing together scientists to tackle a £0.75m research project on early diagnosis, which will include looking at how to support GPs to make an earlier diagnosis, and investigating the economic impact of early diagnosis.
  • Only 3 in 10 pancreatic cancer patients receive active treatment once diagnosed.
  • The NHS’ Long Term Plan includes a commitment that 75% of less survivable cancers should be diagnosed in stage 1 or 2. This will be a challenge in pancreatic cancer, where most are diagnosed at a much later stage.
  • PCUK want to spread their ’20-day treatment model’ across the UK, with this a priority for lobbying Westminster and the devolved nations over the coming year.
  • Recent data shows many pancreatic cancer patients have symptoms two years prior to getting a diagnosis, so earlier diagnosis has to be possible.



  • Survey conducted between Jan-May 2018 – achieving 274 responses (females 60%)
  • 38% of respondents had not had surgery
  • 29% of patients felt they are not given enough info at the time of diagnosis
  • 15% felt diagnosis wasn’t given in a sensitive way
  • Psychological support has emerged as an important gap in care, and interventions to support patients and their families are needed. Nb. NICE guidance recommends that patients receive an assessment but this does not necessarily happen in practice.
  • Uncertainty about the future (31%) was the most common unmet need
  • 20% of respondents had not been offered a dietician appointment.



When communicating the need for greater awareness, earlier diagnosis and increased investment in pancreatic cancer, powerful patient stories are crucial. The stories we heard underlined how information and education for patients is vital. They cling to dates, to statistics, to surveys, to articles, to research as a way of anchoring the traumatic and confusing journey they’ve unwillingly embarked on. Any campaign or brand strategy which can helpfully align itself with this narrative would be received well amongst a number of key audiences.

The role of the GP, and the importance of getting the care pathway right cannot be over-emphasised. The role of pharmaceutical companies in this could be a genuinely constructive and positive one, with external campaigns engaging with patients/carers and HCPs with insightful, simple and helpful information on milestones they might expect to encounter during their pancreatic cancer experience.

The role of digital innovation, clinical nurse specialists and peer-to-peer support should also be considered as part of brand or communications strategies – building on the work of both NHS England and PCUK in these areas. There has been much weight placed on the role of nursing by the regulators and politicians in recent weeks as part of the forthcoming workforce strategy. Furthermore, the creation of NHSX and the upcoming NHS app is an opportunity for stakeholders in the pancreatic cancer community to create tools that tick the box for patients, as well as positioning organisations positively in the eyes of influencers and decision-makers.

To speak to OVID in depth about our experience (we’ve worked extensively in oncology), and ideas please do get in touch via the contact details below. We’d be more than happy to chat over coffee to hear about your plans; and brainstorm how our support might help them come to life.