Page last updated at 16:15 GMT, Monday, 14 January 2013

Peer calls for advances in the treatment of pancreatic cancer

A peer has called on the government to learn from the progress made in other countries on the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Conservative peer Baroness Gardner of Parkes, speaking during oral questions on 14 January 2013, told ministers techniques used in countries like Australia should be adopted in the UK.

Lady Parkes gave the example of a relative in Australia who had benefited from a "direct radiant pellets" treatment and asked Health Minister Earl Howe whether the government were looking at successful treatments being used elsewhere so that the UK was not "left behind".

Earl Howe said he was "interested to hear" about the alternative treatment and pointed out it was the role of National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to "keep evidence of new treatments under review".

Crossbench peer Lord Aberdare tabled the oral question asking whether the new cancer symptoms awareness campaign would help improve early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

Lord Aberdare told peers pancreatic cancer was the fifth deadliest cancer in the UK, and said that survival rates were "significantly worse" than other countries.

He added that early diagnosis was key to helping survival rates and wanted to know what new tools would be available to doctors to help with detection.

Earl Howe revealed that, from March, the department would be rolling out an electronic cancer decision support tool for GPs to use as part of their routine practice.

Opposition spokesman Lord Hunt of Kings Heath pointed out there was a "wide variation in the performance of GPs" and wanted to know if the NHS Commissioning Board would take action where GPs were not doing what was required.

Earl Howe confirmed that this would be the case and said there was a "range of work" going on in the area of pancreatic cancer to ensure GPs are "better versed".

Peers also put questions to government ministers on the proposed English Baccalaureate, court interpreting services provided by Capita and the contribution to savings of unpaid carers.

Story Tools

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific