A NURSE has dyed her blond hair purple and vowed to dress in the colour from head to toe throughout November to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer.

Macmillan HPB clinical nurse specialist Vicki Stevenson-Hornby is letting purple – the symbolic colour for pancreatic cancer – reign in a bid to help tackle the killer disease’s frightening statistics.

The 41-year-old, who works for the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust and lives in Hindley, said: “Pancreatic cancer has the worst survival rate of the 22 most common cancers, yet so many people do not know anything about the pancreas, or what it does, and are unaware of the early signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer.

“I see the devastation which pancreatic cancer causes and wish with all my heart there was more that I could do to improve the outcome.

“In doing this very small thing I hope to raise more awareness because the more people who know about pancreatic cancer, the more they can be aware of early symptoms.

“By detecting pancreatic cancer earlier the potential survival rate is significantly improved.

“There are around 280,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer each year and it is the fifth biggest cancer killer in the UK.

“Pancreatic cancer is chronically underfunded and this is reflected in the dire survival rates between three to six per cent, which haven’t improved for almost 50 years.”

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and World Pancreatic Cancer Day will be marked on November 16 with the Turn It Purple campaign calling for businesses and individuals to join Vickie in embracing the colour.

They are urged to shine purple lights on buildings or other structures in their community, wear purple at the office, at home or at school and donate to life-saving research to help raise awareness and understanding of pancreatic cancer.

The aim is for more people to be diagnosed in time for surgery, which is currently the only way to beat the disease.