Two pancreatic cancer charities have announced their intention to merge, to combat the deadly disease.
Pancreatic Cancer Action, and Pancreatic Cancer Scotland have a shared vision for the 2020’s to be The Decade of Change.
The proposal to merge, brings together two organisations, managed by two women, each of whom have their own personal story and connection to pancreatic cancer.
Ali Stunt, founder and CEO of Pancreatic Cancer Action (PCA), is a 12-year survivor of pancreatic cancer. Glasgow-based Fiona Brown, development manager of Pancreatic Cancer Scotland (PCS), lost her mum at age 56 in 2003 to the disease.
This year both charities mark their 10th anniversary and their shared vision to make the 2020’s the decade for change for Pancreatic Cancer, is bold and ambitious, driven by a need to improve survival rates for the world’s toughest cancer.
Both organisations were founded in 2010 out of a need for a pancreatic cancer charity focussing on improving symptom awareness, early diagnosis and patient care in Scotland and the UK.
Helped by a wide community of passionate supporters, the charities have grown organically enabling them to make huge strides in advancing support, healthcare, awareness, research and education.
However, there is much work still to be done. Of all the major cancers, pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rates and these numbers have barely changed in the last five decades.
Approximately 800 people a year are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in Scotland. While death rates are declining for many other cancers, death rates are increasing for pancreatic cancer.
In Scotland, 781 patients died from pancreatic cancer in 2017, and 811 in 2018.
ISD (Information Services Division) Scotland have predicted a 49.9% increase in incidence by 2027.
Addressing the urgent need to take more action, the intended merger of PCS and PCA will enable considerable progress and impact towards making the 2020’s the decade of change for pancreatic cancer.
Fiona explained: ‘Since sadly losing my mum to pancreatic cancer in 2003, I have seen too many hearts broken and families devastated by this awful disease, that has been left in the dark for too long. However, I have met many inspirational survivors, like Ali and it’s clear that we can all do more to help ensure we all arrive at the day where we all know more survivors.’
Ali added: ‘My ambition remains the same, as it did 10 years ago, that more people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer sooner, in time for surgery to be possible. This is what happened to me, but it was more a matter of luck and circumstance that afforded me the early diagnosis and, once understanding the statistics of this disease, I discovered that chance isn’t something one can rely on to get diagnosed early.
‘By coming together, both charities know we can make greater strides in making our vision, a day when everyone is diagnosed early and survives pancreatic cancer, a reality.
‘The pancreatic cancer charity world is very fragmented; this merger will reduce any potential duplication of effort and resources and means we can make a bigger impact.’
The two charities will continue initially as separate entities, however, will eventually merge into one organisation, subject to approval from OSCR (Office of The Scottish Charity Regulator).
It is anticipated that Ali will be the chief executive officer of the merged organisation, with Fiona Brown managing the Scotland office.
Fiona concluded: ‘The intention to merge will strengthen and grow our combined activities, enabling us to add more value, take more action and drive positive change. so that the 2020’s will be the decade of change for pancreatic cancer.’
For more information visit www.pancanscot.org or www.panact.org.