Kirsty’s story for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

1st November 2017

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Guts UK has been a steadfast supporter of research on pancreatic diseases and an advocate for people affected by them. Pancreatic cancer has one of the worse survival rates of all cancer types. Increased awareness of symptoms and risk factors associated with the disease will be essential to improve survival rates.

Chronic pancreatitis increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. Guts UK has supported research on pancreatitis for years and we want to raise awareness of the condition and its link with pancreatic cancer. We fund the only Fellowship on pancreatic inflammation or injury in the UK (the Guts UK-Amelie Waring Fellowship).

There is currently no specific treatment for pancreatitis. Repeat attacks can damage the pancreas, and nearby organs if the inflammation spreads. Patients can be in excruciating pain and the disease can have a huge impact in their lives.

Diagram of the pancreas and other body organs
The pancreas and gallbladder

We need new drugs that specifically target pancreatitis; progress is being made but we need to speed things up. We also need a better understanding of how pancreatitis develops. Gallstones and alcohol abuse are the most common causes but many cases of pancreatitis are caused by other factors (trauma, viral infections, side effects of medications, genetics) and sometimes the cause is never identified.

Importantly, we need to ensure that pancreatitis is diagnosed quickly and accurately by health professionals when they come across it. This will help those affected receive the support they need.

Read Kirsty’s story to learn about the difficulties faced by people with chronic pancreatitis.

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