11/06/2016 00:01 BST | Updated 11/06/2017 06:12 BST

Pancreatic Cancer Charity Hopes To Double Clinical Trials Participation By 2020

Pancreatic cancer patients are being urged to participate in clinical trials to try to improve the extremely poor survival rates for the disease.

Charity Pancreatic Cancer UK said that less than 5% of people diagnosed with the disease were taking part in dedicated clinical trials as part of their treatment.

This compared with an average 18% of cancer patients overall, a spokeswoman said.

The charity said survival rates for the disease were extremely poor and had barely improved for 40 years.

It said many patients were unaware of clinical trials, and it has created a UK-wide map and database detailing clinical trials specifically dedicated to the disease.

"Pancreatic cancer is tough to treat and clinical trials are essential in so many ways," said Alex Ford, chief executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK.

"We want to see patient participation in trials at least doubled by 2020 across the UK. For this to happen we need every patient and relevant healthcare professional to be informed about existing trials and possible options."

Professor Andrew Biankin, who has convened an international conference Pancreas2016 which is taking place this week in Glasgow, said: "We need to shift our approach and attitude if we are to really improve the outlook for pancreatic cancer patients.

"We can't just apply what we've done with other cancers.

"We need a much more integrated approach to do smarter studies combining research with treatment so that patients have options and can take part in trials right from the start.

"We need to do better. This is so important or we are continuing to miss the boat."