Call to continue support for cancer trials

South Scotland list MSP Emma Harper has called on the Scottish Government to continue to support important clinical trials which are producing positive results for sufferers of pancreatic cancer.

South Scotland list MSP Emma Harper
South Scotland list MSP Emma Harper

Ms Harper was speaking in a debate held the day before World Pancreatic Cancer Day which aims to raise awareness of one of the most aggressive and least survivable forms of cancer.

More than half of people diagnosed with this form of cancer die within three months.

Pancreatic cancer is the deadliest common cancer in Scotland, with statistics indicating 800 people each year die within just two weeks of a diagnosis.

The Scottish Government has invested in research, and its current action plan, “Recovery and Redesign: An Action Plan for Cancer Services”, recognises the disease and less survivable cancers.

Ms Harper welcomed £653,000 of funding to support the Scottish HepatoPancreatoBiliary Network’s improving pancreatic cancer pathways project.

Precision-Panc clinical trials are delivered through the NHS, and match people who have a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer to the clinical trial that is most likely to work for them.

She said: “There is excellent evidence that participation in clinical trials is associated with better outcomes for patients, so there can be optimism.

"Those types of clinical trials allow researchers across the country to share expertise and knowledge, as well as to create and share infrastructure, which the ads to trials that are quicker to set up and recruit for.”

She asked the minister for Public Health to give a commitment the Scottish Government would continue to support the work of Precision-Panc and once ag ain highlighted the issues her constituents face when accessing treatment for pancreatic and other cancers.

Ms Harper said: “Despite living in one of the most remote and rural parts of Scotland people who live in Dumfries and Galloway do not have access to non-means-tested travel reimbursement to and from treatment appointments.

"I know that the Minister is aware that I have pursued the matter and I ask that she continues to assist me in that work for constituents.”