Thousands of pancreatic cancer patients will be entitled to a free continuous glucose monitoring machine on repeat prescription for the first time ever thanks to new guidelines – but most people still don’t realise they’re entitled to one. National charity Pancreatic Cancer Action said it wanted to empower diabetes 3C sufferers this Diabetes Week (June 13 to 19) to take control of their diagnosis and their entitlement to a life-changing continuous glucose monitoring machine (CMG) on the NHS.
The link between pancreatic cancer and diabetes is strong. Up to 30% of people who are newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer have a diagnosis of type two diabetes within two or three years pre-diagnosis, but this is usually Type 3C diabetes. Those with diabetes are at an increased risk of getting pancreatic cancer.
Type 3C diabetes is considerably less known than diabetes types one and two, however this life-altering disease is a common side-effect for pancreatic cancer sufferers. In pancreatic cancer patients it is caused by having all or part of the pancreas removed, or damage to the pancreas.
Historically, diabetes type 3C sufferers had to self-fund this device, paying upwards of £150 a month for the convenience of using a CGM machine. The machine works by attaching a small sensor to the user’s stomach, which sends glucose readings directly to an app on the user’s phone.
If the reading is too low or too high, the wearer will be alerted instantly, including a loud alarm at night to alert users if their readings are dangerously low. The results are also able to be read in real-time by the user’s diabetes team.
The alternative to a CGM machine is a manual finger-prick test, which are painful and uncomfortable and rely on the user being awake to administer them, which becomes impractical and sometimes even dangerous at night time.
Ali Stunt, CEO of Pancreatic Cancer Action, said: “I, like thousands of other pancreatic cancer patients, have had to self-fund my CGM machine for years until the new NICE guidelines came into place. However, this knowledge is still not widely known and many people are still paying for their devices unnecessarily.
“Some GPs are even refusing to give repeat prescriptions for these devices despite the evidence that they completely transform the quality of life of diabetes 3C sufferers. This week is Diabetes Week and I want to raise awareness of diabetes 3C, which is still not widely known about, and empower other patients to take control of their diabetes and take advantage of the equipment that is available to them.”