I WISH I HAD BREAST CANCER: CHARITY CAMPAIGN CAUSES OUTRAGE – The new public awareness campaign by Pancreatic Cancer Action (visit: pancreaticcanceraction.org) has been referred to as hurtful, repugnant and distasteful and the poster below is part of the new ‘Envy’ campaign being publicly released by Pancreatic Cancer Action.
The concept is to clearly demonstrate that the disease has a far higher mortality rate than any other form of cancer; recently Cancer Research released the following data:
BREAST CANCER (About 50,000 patients diagnosed each year in the UK)
1 year survival – 95.8 per cent
5 year survival – 85.1 per cent Figures are only for women
10 year survival – 77 per cent
TESTICULAR CANCER (Around 2,200 men diagnosed each year)
1 year survival – 98 per cent
5 year survival – 97.2 per cent
10 year survival – 96 per cent
PANCREATIC CANCER (8,000- 8,500 patients diagnosed each year in the UK)
1 year survival – 17.4 per cent of men and 19.1 per cent of women
5 year survival – 3.6 per cent of men and 3.8 per cent of women
10 year survival – 2.9 per cent of men and 2.7 per cent of women
Source: Cancer Research UK
The aim of the campaign is to highlight and raise public awareness to the poor survival rates of pancreatic cancer patients but the posters have caused anger among those with other forms of the disease such a breast cancer stating that it belittles their condition and is nothing short of insensitive to anyone suffering with cancer.
A number of television advertisements are due to be screened in the UK with different headings, such as ‘I wish I had… breast or testicular cancer.
Many people have taken to Twitter in order to vent their anger with a few stating that nobody can truly understand the true nature of any form of cancer unless they have been victims; the reality of any form of cancer is both devastating and life-changing.
Some people have stated that to a degree they can understand that pancreatic cancer needs wider recognition, certainly a better system of prognosis and more funding but this is using cancer as little more than a competition; that is which type of cancer gets the most public attention and therefore ultimately more funding.
Ali Stunt, the founder of the charity Pancreatic Cancer Action, has defended the campaign after being diagnosed with the disease in 2007.
Ms. Stunt told reporters at the MailOnline that when she was diagnosed and discovered the mortality rates she began to desperately wish she had another form of cancer; which led her to create the campaign.
According to recent figures, some 8,000 people a year in the UK alone die of pancreatic cancer; it is the fifth most common cause of cancer death and is the ninth most common type of cancer.
Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer
The information below is provided by NHS Choices
- When pancreatic cancer is in its early stages it rarely has any symptoms. This means most patients are not aware they are unwell until the condition is advanced.
- The symptoms are also similar to those of a variety of other conditions, so can be hard to diagnose.
The most common symptoms are:
- Pain in the upper abdomen which sometimes spreads to the back. It usually comes and goes at first but becomes constant as the cancer advances. The pain is often worse when eating or lying down.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, dark yellow urine, pale stools and itchy skin.
- Diabetes – this causes excessive thirst, passing more urine than usual and weakness.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Fever and shivering.
The best advice anyone can give is to seek medical advice if you are suffering from such symptoms.
I can tell you from direct experience that any form of cancer is devastating, not just to those with the disease but also their family members as they watch their loved ones battle with cancer on a daily basis.
We can only hope that medical advances will continue and that one day cancer, that’s all types of cancer, will become routinely curable.