Britain's Hidden Killer: Tonight

Paul Kennedy, 78, was a fit and healthy former Manchester academic, when he was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer. 

He bravely allowed his filmmaker son Daniel a few brief moments of his final days before he passed away, to shine a spotlight on this dreadful disease.

Pancreatic cancer is the deadliest common cancer in the UK, with mortality rates barely improving in 40 years. 

Shockingly, three quarters of pancreatic cancer patients die within one year of diagnosis, as reporter Daniel Kennedy knows all too well, after losing his father to the disease in 2020.

Paul realised something was the matter when he started to experience pains in his stomach. Despite a number of trips to the GP, multiple blood tests and even a visit to A&E, doctors found nothing wrong with him. 

It wasn’t until months later when Daniel paid for a private CT scan that the truth was revealed - he had stage four pancreatic cancer, a terminal diagnosis. Daniel told Tonight.

Just over half of all pancreatic cancer patients will be diagnosed at the latest stage 4 -  unfortunately, by then, that means it’s terminal. 

The best form of treatment if caught in time is surgery followed by chemotherapy. 

 Declan Dunne is the Consultant surgeon and clinical lead at Royal Liverpool University Hospital’s Pancreatic Cancer Unit.  

Pancreatic cancer is known by some as a ‘silent cancer’ - rarely presenting any symptoms in the early stages, which are so critical for a patient’s survival. Symptoms can include back pain, change in bowel habits, pain when eating, abdominal discomfort and weight loss.

Pancreatic Cancer UK is the largest charity in this area, offering free advice and support to pancreas cancer patients and their families, as well as funding research. The CEO is Diana Jupp.

The link between pancreatic cancer and type 2 diabetes has been suggested for decades but only in recent years have scientists developed a much better understanding of it.

Professor Eithne Costello, at the University of Liverpool is one of the scientists exploring the link.


In a statement, NHS England told us. 

The Department of Health said: “Cancer diagnosis and treatment has remained a top priority and we urge anyone with symptoms to get checked by their GP.”

'Britain's Hidden Killer' is on ITV this Friday 15th October at 8pm.

Useful links:

If you’d like to know more about the Uropanc clinical study featured in this programme, visit -

Pancreatic Cancer UK runs a free, confidential, support line staffed by specialist nurses for anyone affected by pancreatic cancer. For more information visit:

For details on the Europac clinical screening trial -  

Pancreatic Cancer Action have a helpful list of symptoms to look out for 

Macmillan Cancer Support - 

Helpline: 0808 808 00 00

Marie Curie support line - 

Cancer Research UK has a helpful list of organisations to contact for advice and support -