Letters, July 30 2021


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Half of pancreatic cancer patients not prescribed tablets they need to stop them starving

Shockingly, despite pancreatic cancer being one of the deadliest common cancers, half of all diagnosed patients are not prescribed the inexpensive tablets they need to stop them starving.

As chief executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK, I am deeply concerned that so many patients  are missing out on this medication – called Pancreatic Enzyme Replacement Therapy (PERT) – which is just as vital for people with pancreatic cancer as insulin is for those with diabetes.

The main cause is a lack of awareness among health professionals, who do a wonderful job caring for people, but don’t specialise in the disease or treat pancreatic cancer patients as frequently as those with other more common types of cancer.

PERT enables patients to digest food, helping them to tolerate treatment and to manage debilitating symptoms from the cancer – including pain, diarrhoea and extreme weight loss.

A simple prescription could give so many people with incurable pancreatic cancer more – and better quality – time with their loved ones.

We need action across the NHS to raise awareness of PERT tablets and ensure everyone who needs them is prescribed them. Nobody should have to watch someone they love waste away from pancreatic cancer.

Over 26,000 people have already joined our Transform Lives: Prescribe campaign, urging the NHS to implement targets to make sure PERT tablets are prescribed routinely.

Your readers can show their support for the campaign and help stop people with pancreatic cancer from starving at transformlives.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/

Diana Jupp, chief executive, Pancreatic Cancer UK.

Lymphoma Action Covid-19 vaccines webinar

As the Covid-19 vaccination programme continues, many people with blood cancer have received both of their vaccine doses.

However, news about the immune response to the vaccine by people with blood cancer has caused some concerns, and raised various questions.

The changes to the restrictions and guidelines for the country has also had an impact, and some people still feel a level of concern about their situation.

Readers may be interested in our upcoming, free webinar Covid-19 vaccines: your questions answered.

Taking place at 3.30pm on August 11, we will be joined by a panel of three UK lymphoma experts who will discuss how Covid-19 vaccines work, the response to the vaccine by people with lymphoma and the ongoing research into this area, and the concerns raised by people with lymphoma in the current environment.

Upon registration, there will be the opportunity to submit a question to our panel in advance of the session.

For further details, or to book a place, readers can visit www.lymphoma-action.org.uk/events/covid-19-vaccines-webinar-your-questions-answered

Lymphoma Action.

Save water in warm weather

Scottish Water is reminding residents and visitors to use water efficiently in warm weather.

Demand across the country was so high in recent weeks that Scottish Water had to provide 100 million litres of extra water per day, compared with normal levels at this time of year.

As temperatures soared in much of the country, this increased to more than 200 million litres extra per day over the weekend.

Scottish Water has tankered extra water into some parts of the country to maintain supplies, including Tighnabruaich and Portavadie.

Water levels in reservoirs are at 74 per cent. This is a fall from 90 per cent in late May.

Current levels are below average for this time of year but the main issue is demand for water from customers, which has increased considerably during the warm weather.

When garden water use increases dramatically, for things like sprinklers and paddling pools, that places considerable strain across our infrastructure to move the water as quickly as customers need it.

If people across the country – residents and visitors – can take some simple steps to reduce their water use, they can make a big contribution towards our efforts to maintain normal supplies for everyone and there will be fewer tankers on the roads.

People can help protect water supplies by:

  • using a watering can instead of a garden hose
  • not using jet washers, which use an average of 36 litres of water
  • not using paddling pools, which use an average of 400 litres of water, but if pools are used, try quarter filling them and using the water for your garden afterwards
  • turning the tap off when brushing teeth
  • using washing machines and dishwashers only when fully loaded

More information on saving water is available at www.scottishwater.co.uk/savewater

Kes Juskowiak, water operations general manager, Scottish Water.