East Hampshire District Council has become the first local authority in the UK to pass a motion pledging to raise symptom awareness of pancreatic cancer.
The motion was passed unanimously by the full council and calls upon the council to work alongside Liphook-based Pancreatic Cancer Action, a nationwide charity founded by a rare survivor of the disease, Haslemere resident, Ali Stunt.
Joe Kirwin, the charity’s health policy & projects manager, said: "It’s really positive to see East Hampshire District Council being proactive during this, the 10th Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.
"We look forward to seeing the results of this motion and will support the council in any way we can as a charity.Â
"Thank you to all the councillors for sharing their experiences, particularly Councillor Paula Langley (Alton Independent Socialists, Alton Eastbrooke) for proposing the motion, and Cllr Stephen Dolan (Alton Independent Socialists, Alton Wooteys) for seconding it."
Cllr Langley said the motion brought the entire chamber together.
"The council chamber that night became really emotional," she said. "In the break quite a few councillors came up and told me their stories.
"The whole thing relies on our GP surgeries having the time and resources to deal with people’s symptoms carefully. If you’re rushing through because of too many patients then it’s harder to spot the nuances.
"It brought the entire chamber together regardless of our political allegiances and it just goes to show that cancer affects everybody.
"I think we’ve got some of the worst recovery rates in Europe of any cancers and that needs to be better."
The council plans to raise symptom awareness by sharing information online and with an annual poster campaign.
It also plans on offering occupation training to charity staff and providing information to organisations about local support services.
AROUND 1,600 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the South East of England every year.
According to survey data, 69 per cent of residents in the region "know nothing/almost nothing" about the disease and 74 per cent cannot name a single symptom.
The survival rate for pancreatic cancer is eight per cent and is the fifth biggest cause of cancer death in the UK.
However, it is set to be fourth by 2026 as other cancers’ survival rates continue to improve.
To learn more about pancreatic cancer and the work of the charity founded in 2010 by Haslemere’s Ali Stunt (pictured), visit the website https://pancreaticcanceraction.org