While talking about pancreatic cancer all year round is important, it is especially significant at this time of year, as November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.
This year’s ‘Turn it Purple’ campaign calls for individuals and businesses to embrace the colour purple in order to highlight the UK’s fifth deadliest cancer. Currently, only 1 in 10 patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive beyond five years; this is largely because it is difficult to diagnose the disease in its early stages. When pancreatic cancer is caught in the later stages of development, treatment options are very limited.
Signs and Symptoms
Charity Pancreatic Cancer UK recently conducted a survey of 4,000 participants, and found that pancreatic cancer awareness is still far too low. However, early detection of pancreatic cancer is vital in saving lives.
The most common form of pancreatic cancer is known as pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), and symptoms often go undiagnosed in the early stages as they can be fairly innocuous. These common symptoms include:
- Stomach and backaches
- Unexplained weight loss
- Changes in bowel movements, including floating rather than sinking faeces
Other symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty swallowing
- A recent diagnosis of diabetes
If people have concerns they are displaying symptoms of pancreatic cancer, they should consult their GP as soon as possible, especially when symptoms such as jaundice occur. Keeping a record of how long you have been experiencing your symptoms and providing your GP with a detailed description of them can help with the process of diagnosis.
Support in Berkshire
If you are living with pancreatic cancer in the Berkshire area, you will find that there is ample support for you during treatment and aftercare. The Berkshire Cancer Rehabilitation programme is a step-by-step course that provides patients and their families with the appropriate tools and opportunities to help improve quality of life during cancer and beyond.
The programme is available upon request by those registered with a GP in the Berkshire area, and is funded by Macmillan Cancer Support in conjunction with the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, and the Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
The services offered within the programme are supported by trained cancer professionals, which include a wide range of activities, ranging from physical health and well-being programmes, to psychological and social support.
Turn it Purple for 2017
Turning the UK purple this November will help to get the conversation going for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Helping to generate a discussion can have a direct impact upon GP visits as well as a general awareness about the disease and its symptoms.
To get involved, you can order a turn it purple pack and host a stall in your local supermarket, community centre or fete to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer. You can also join the light it purple campaign, which sees landmarks, communities and homes across the UK illuminate the sky in purple to honour those affected by pancreatic cancer.
Other ways to help raise awareness for pancreatic cancer include encouraging local businesses to generate purple window displays, baking or crafting with purple, and creating beautiful flower displays in your garden and local community with purple plants.
You can also help to generate awareness for pancreatic cancer online by using the #turnitpurple hashtag and tagging relevant profiles in your posts to get the conversation going. This includes following @OfficialPCA on Twitter and pancreatic_cancer_action on Instagram, and liking the Pancreatic Cancer Action Facebook page. You can also create beautiful purple boards on Pinterest, tagging TeamPCA and sharing your purple creations.