Global Coalition Unites to Fight World’s Toughest Cancer on World Pancreatic Cancer Day

Posted on: 14 Nov 2018

Global Coalition Unites to Fight World’s Toughest Cancer on World Pancreatic Cancer Day

More than 70 organizations from 30 countries participate in annual campaign to shine spotlight on the urgent need for earlier detection


On World Pancreatic Cancer Day, Thursday, Nov. 15, people around the world will rally together to Demand BetterSM in the fight against pancreatic cancer, starting with awareness of the symptoms and risks. The annual one-day campaign is an initiative of the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition, which is composed of more than 70 organizations from 30 countries on six continents.


Every day, more than 1,250 people worldwide will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and an estimated 1,180 will die from the disease. In Ireland each year 564 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer with 495 dying from the disease. Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate among all major cancers, and in nearly every country, it is the only major cancer with a single-digit five-year survival rate (2-9 percent). In Ireland it has an 8.2% five year survival rate.  These chilling figures are not merely statistics, they represent family members, friends and colleagues across the globe.


The symptoms and risks of pancreatic cancer can be vague and are poorly understood, which is why it’s so important to recognize the warning signs,” said Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition chair. “Initiatives like World Pancreatic Cancer Day allow us to demand better for patients and bring greater attention, awareness and, ultimately, better outcomes, to this deadly disease.


Knowing the symptoms and risks remains key to an early diagnosis. There is currently no screening test or early detection method for pancreatic cancer, though research is being conducted in these areas. It is also critical that those who may see signs or symptoms of pancreatic cancer listen to their bodies, seek medical attention and when talking to their healthcare provider, mention pancreatic cancer. Research shows that patients diagnosed in time for surgery are more likely to live five years and beyond.


Orla Dolan, Chief Executive of Breakthrough Cancer Research, Ireland’s only member of the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition, states, “Every day at Breakthrough Cancer Research we ‘demand better’ for patients impacted by Pancreatic Cancer.  Currently, there is no screening or early detection method so we want to encourage everyone to know the symptoms and risks.  Early diagnosis is key but we urgently need research to develop ways to screen and diagnose earlier and to develop more effective treatment for those patients who are diagnosed.  It is why we are so proud to be currently funding 3 research projects in Pancreatic Cancer.  We are part of a worldwide effort and Coalition, we are asking everyone to join us by wearing purple this World Pancreatic Cancer Day and help us Demand Better.


Symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:

  • Painless jaundice (yellow skin or eyes, dark urine)
  • Significant and unexplained weight loss
  • New onset of persistent abdominal discomfort
  • Persistent dyspepsia or indigestion not alleviated by medication
  • Loss of appetite or quickly feeling full when eating
  • Unexplained back pain, often eased by sitting upright


Breakthrough is leading the way with research into cancers with poor prognosis such as pancreatic cancer. They work closely with clinicians, dietitians and cancer researchers to ensure that the research they fund responds to the needs of patients with cancers that do not respond to conventional therapies.


As Irelands only member of the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition, Breakthrough is delighted to support this campaign and aims to raise much needed awareness about the signs and symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer as well as the importance of early diagnosis.  Breakthrough is highlighting their funded research projects in the area of Pancreatic Cancer, including the newest addition, master’s student Katie Cooke who will be working with Dr. Patrick Forde on his pancreatic cancer related research projects.


As part of World Pancreatic Cancer Day in Ireland, Breakthrough is also highlighting their free cookbook for cancer patients, Nourishing Your Body during Pancreatic Cancer Treatment. The cookbook is specifically for patients undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer and is available free of charge to cancer patients throughout Ireland.


Buildings across the World and Ireland are lighting up in purple to support the campaign, including the Convention Centre Dublin and the Mansion House Dublin. To learn more about getting involved in the worldwide movement dedicated to creating a better future for those fighting pancreatic cancer, visit: To support pancreatic cancer research here in Ireland go here.

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