Dr Neil Smith, local GP and Primary Care Director for the Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance talks about why it is important for people continue to seek help early for symptoms that could be a sign of pancreatic cancer.


Hello, my name is Neil Smith. I'm a GP and I am passionate about early diagnosis of cancer. And today I want to talk about pancreatic cancer because, of all the cancers, it's got one of the lowest survival rates. It is the fifth most common cause of cancer-related death and I'm sad to say that less than 4% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are alive after five years and I'd like to make a difference with that.

Now, I recognise that Covid-19 has been hard for us all. One of the major things I noticed, particularly early on, is fewer of my patients coming forward to talk to me about cancer. I'm pleased to say that's improved. I'd like that to continue and I need to reassure people that the NHS is still open. GPs like myself are here to help you and there's been a range of changes to make sure that you are safe.

So, if you've got any concerns about cancer, please still contact your GP. Pancreatic cancer can be difficult to spot early, but the sooner we do spot it, the easier it is to treat and to cure. Now potential symptoms of pancreatic cancer can include jaundice - that means when the whites of your eyes become yellow or your skin becomes yellow or itchy, pee can become darker, poo can become lighter.

Pancreatic cancer can also cause a loss of appetite or weight without trying to do so, persistent, unusual pains in your tummy or your back, or changes in your bowel, your poo will become more frequent or constipated and it can also cause you to feel sick or be sick more often. Now if you've got any of these symptoms, please do contact your GP. It probably isn't pancreatic cancer, but it's best to get it checked out. So let's talk cancer because early diagnosis, particularly if pancreatic cancer, will save lives. Thank you.

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