Cancer alliance hosts first webinar on new research that shows pancreatic cancer could be identified up to three years earlier

Surrey and Sussex Cancer Alliance (SSCA) has partnered with Pancreatic Cancer Action to deliver the first webinar to health professionals on new research that shows weight loss and rising blood glucose could be precursors for pancreatic cancer.

The study, carried out by researchers from the University of Surrey, in partnership with the charity and the University of Oxford, has identified it may be possible to diagnose pancreatic cancer at a much earlier stage for one-third of patients who present with new-onset diabetes  - up to three years earlier than current diagnoses.

The research was unveiled at the start of November to coincide with Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and received unprecedented media interest including ITV News. Now, health professionals across Surrey and Sussex will be the first to hear from the researchers and ask questions during an online webinar on Tuesday, 6 December.

“I relish the chance that our research can potentially play a part in helping a large number of patients to be diagnosed early and who have the potential to survive this disease,” says Ali Stunt, founder and chief executive officer of Pancreatic Cancer Action, and pancreatic cancer survivor, “and I am delighted that we will be able to share the study in more depth with Surrey and Sussex Cancer Alliance.”

Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect and survival rates are extremely poor.  One in four people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in England survive their disease for one year or more, with emergency presentation the most common route to diagnosis1. Across the SSCA footprint, 27.5% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive the disease for one year or more and one-quarter of pancreatic cancers are diagnosed at stage 1 or 2. Most areas across the alliance have a higher incidence per 100,000 population than the England average and emergency presentation accounts for almost one in four diagnoses of pancreatic cancer.2


“The difficulty is pancreatic cancer can be very hard to diagnose,” says Dr Alex Norman, SSCA co-medical director. “However, raising awareness of the risk factors of new-onset diabetes with unexplained weight loss could lead to an earlier diagnosis. This will help to improve outcomes and survival. I welcome this new research and look forward to hearing more about it.”  

Today, to coincide with World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day, the SSCA has also launched a pancreatic cancer toolkit for health professionals to aid early diagnosis.



1Cancer Research UK, 2013-2017

2National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS), 2018