DUP MLA Paula Bradley is encouraging people in North Belfast to know the symptoms of pancreatic cancer, and is supporting Pancreatic Cancer UK’s drive to improve the care of local people with the disease.

The North Belfast MLA recently attended Pancreatic Cancer UK’s parliamentary event at Stormont, when the charity launched its Patient Charter, which informs pancreatic cancer patients about the level of care they are entitled to in the north.

Setting out the expectations all pancreatic cancer patients should have for all aspects of their care, the booklet aims to ensure patients are equipped to gain the support they need at a difficult and confusing time.

A recent survey commissioned by Pancreatic Cancer UK found that three quarters of people in Northern Ireland could not name a single symptom of pancreatic cancer. The symptoms include tummy pain that can spread to the back, significant and unexplained weight loss, yellow skin or eyes or itchy skin (jaundice) and indigestion.

“Pancreatic cancer is a disease which sadly affects many people in my constituency, and that’s why I am dedicating my efforts to spreading the word about the symptoms during pancreatic cancer awareness month.

“I’m confident that people in communities across North Belfast will rise to the challenge of finding out more about the disease this pancreatic cancer awareness month,” she explained.

“But our challenge is not just to improve awareness of this disease. It is also extremely important that we work towards every patient in North Belfast receiving the best care and support possible, and the Patient Charter is a big step in the right direction to doing that.”

Alex Ford, Chief Executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK, said: “We are delighted that Paula Bradley MLA has joined us in taking on this tough disease together. We are urging people in North Belfast to take part in our new symptoms quiz to learn more about the disease, and share that crucial knowledge with their loved ones. Whether you're someone personally affected, an MLA, a doctor or nurse or even someone who has never heard of the disease, everyone can play a role in our vital mission to spread the word.

“It is also crucial that we improve the unacceptable variations in care for patients in Northern Ireland. By showing people with pancreatic cancer the care they should be receiving, we hope our Patient Charter will ultimately help to improve the support, treatment and information that people with the disease receive in Northern Ireland. We believe that with great commitment on so many fronts, we can see change and a better future for all people with pancreatic cancer.”

Paula is joining the charity in its efforts to spread the word about the warning signs of the disease and is encouraging local people to find out more about the disease by taking part in its new symptoms quiz which can be accessed at www.pancreaticcancer. org.uk/symptomsquiz