Dawn Bowden AM on Purple Alert to change the future for people affected by pancreatic cancer in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney

Dawn Bowden AM has pledged to get on Purple Alert for pancreatic cancer to help transform the lives of people affected by pancreatic cancer in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney.

At a Pancreatic Cancer UK drop-in event at the Welsh parliament, Dawn Bowden AM heard that just 7 per cent of people diagnosed with the disease in Wales will survive for five years or more, and that there has been very little improvement in survival since the early 1970s. 80 per cent of people with pancreatic cancer are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when there are very few treatment options and the one potentially life-saving treatment of surgery is not possible. The charity says that unless urgent action is taken now, pancreatic cancer will become the fourth biggest cancer killer by 2026.

Dawn Bowden AM said: “Tragically, pancreatic cancer took the lives of 35 people in the Cwm Taf University Health Board area in 2015. It is clear that much more work is needed to deliver the kind of change which we must see for people affected, and to achieve the improvements in survival so desperately needed.

“I want to encourage everyone in the Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney area to join me in supporting Pancreatic Cancer UK’s Purple Alert campaign, to help change the future for everyone affected by the disease.”

Diana Jupp, Chief Executive at Pancreatic Cancer UK said: “We’re extremely grateful Dawn Bowden AM has shown her support by signing our Purple Alert pledge at our drop-in event and learning more about the numbers of people affected by pancreatic cancer in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney.

“Whilst significant improvements have been made in survival for many other cancers, with 50 per cent of all cancer patients now surviving for ten years or more, pancreatic cancer survival has seen little improvement, with just one per cent of patients living beyond ten years. That’s why we are calling on people in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney to join us in getting on Purple Alert. With their help we can spread the word about pancreatic cancer and raise more funds for research so more people can be diagnosed earlier in the future, as well as offer vital support to patients and families.”

Pancreatic Cancer UK is calling on people to Move It, Bake It, Quiz It, Game It, Style It or Wear It purple to raise funds as part of its Purple Alert campaign. People can find out more at www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/pcam.


Notes to editors

About pancreatic cancer

  • In Wales, 7.4 per cent of people with pancreatic cancer will survive beyond five years. (Source: Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit)
  • Five year survival for pancreatic cancer has improved very little since the early 1970s.
  • One person dies of pancreatic cancer every hour. Around 8,800 people die every year of the disease in the UK.
  • 80 per cent of people with pancreatic cancer are not diagnosed until the cancer is at an advanced stage.
  • Surgery is the only treatment which could save lives, yet only eight per cent of people with pancreatic cancer have it.
  • Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival of all the 20 common cancers.
  • Around 9,600 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer per year in the UK. That’s 26 people every day.
  • Pancreatic cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer death in the UK


Source: Cancer Research UK

  • Pancreatic cancer research has historically been underfunded. The disease attracts just 1.9 per cent of the UK cancer research budget.

Source: NCRI 2015/2016


About Pancreatic Cancer UK:

Pancreatic Cancer UK is taking on pancreatic cancer through research, support and campaigning to transform the future for people affected.

  • We provide expert, personalised support and information via our Support Line (Freephone 0808 801 0707) and through a range of publications.
  • We fund innovative research to find the breakthroughs that will change how we understand, diagnose and treat pancreatic cancer.

We campaign for change; for better care, treatment and research, and for pancreatic cancer to have the recognition it needs.