Thursday 18th November is World Pancreatic Cancer Day. Over 630 New Zealanders a year are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and only 12% of those diagnosed survive beyond 5 years. Incidence in New Zealand is on the increase.

As the New Zealand representative organisation on the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition, we are joining with member organisations around the world to say ‘It’s about time’ to know about the symptoms, risk factors and research needed to find better ways to detect, diagnose and treat pancreatic cancer.

An extensive social media campaign, Shine a Light on Pancreatic Cancer, is being run throughout the month to help raise awareness of the symptoms and risk factors of pancreatic cancer. We are very grateful to Kiwis impacted by pancreatic cancer sharing their stories and personal experiences of the disease for the awareness campaign.

To focus the awareness on World Pancreatic Cancer Day, 53 buildings and landmarks around the country are lighting up purple in one of the largest light up campaigns in New Zealand. This is part of a global light up campaign involving significant landmarks around the world.

Gut Cancer Foundation supporters around the country are holding Big Purple Dinners to honour loved ones impacted by pancreatic cancer and this campaign will run through November and December. Funds raised will support the ASCEND clinical trial which aims to improve survival rates for Kiwis diagnosed with advanced metastatic pancreatic cancer who have very few treatment options.

Media coverage includes Newshub tonight at 10pm, featuring Gut Cancer Foundation Ambassador Nyree Smith & GCF executive officer, Liam Willis, together with Dr Sharon Pattison, member of GCF’s Scientific Advisory Committee, discussing the ASCEND pancreatic cancer clinical trial. Filming has also taken place for a piece on The Project (TV3) scheduled for next week.

You can find out more about the Shine a Light on Pancreatic Cancer campaign on our dedicated website https://www.pancreatic.gutcancer.org.nz/