Nick Thomas-Symonds MP met with Linda Reardon at a packed event in Parliament on Tuesday 22 March as Pancreatic Cancer UK launched the first ever Patient Charter aimed at making better care a reality for all. Ever since her mother died from the disease in 2010, Linda has campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness for the cancer. The Torfaen MP and Linda worked together last year during Pancreatic Cancer awareness month.

The Torfaen MP heard that despite more than 9,400 new cases of pancreatic cancer now diagnosed throughout the UK every year and figures set to soar to over 12,000 by 2030, early diagnosis is still a great challenge. Late diagnosis is common as pancreatic cancer symptoms can be very difficult to spot and a clear support pathway is often missing. Unusually, 45 % of patients are diagnosed via A and E, more than twice the number for other forms of cancer. Many say they have had little time to take in what is happening and don’t know what to expect following their discharge from hospital. A shocking 53% say they or their family member were not offered support when told of their diagnosis.

Pancreatic Cancer UK’s Charter is an essential guide clearly detailing the care and support that every patient should expect. A handy booklet, it is aimed at giving patients and families the confidence to ask the right questions and get what they need at a difficult and confusing time.

The charity’s aim is that every patient will eventually be given a copy automatically on diagnosis.
Nick Thomas-Symonds was joined by Linda Reardon, patients and family members and specialist nurses as he showed his support for the Patient Charter and campaign.

Mr Thomas-Symonds MP said: “I was delighted to attend this important launch by Pancreatic Cancer UK, to meet patients and their families and to understand more about the challenges faced by many of those diagnosed with this dreadful disease which currently has the lowest survival rate of all 21 most common cancers. The Charter is an excellent tool for patients in Torfaen and throughout the UK and has the potential to make a very real difference to someone’s treatment and care.”

Pancreatic cancer survivor Lynne Walker said: “The shock, fear and lack of information after my diagnosis was overwhelming. If someone had put this guide in my hand when I was feeling so vulnerable it would have felt like gold dust. This guide may look modest but it gives patients and loved ones a confidence that is essential at an incredibly stressful and awful time. Patients have every right to be able to ask questions and every right to expect reasonable care. I want to see every patient and family given a copy.”

Alex Ford, Chief Executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK said: “We were delighted that Nick joined us to launch our Patient Charter, the first step of our Gold Standards campaign, aimed at driving better care for all. We thank him for showing his support. We believe that with great commitment on so many fronts, we will begin to see change and a better future for all pancreatic cancer patients.”

For more information about pancreatic cancer, visit www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk

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