Hunniford says she is "sickened" by a controversial
advertising campaign that shows pancreatic cancer
patients declaring they would rather have breast
The 'cancer envy' campaign by Pancreatic Cancer
Action has caused a furore in Britain in recent
Ms Hunniford whose daughter Caron Keating died of
breast cancer in 2004 at the age of 41, described
the campaign as "insensitive and misguided".
"I feel almost sick when I read the words: 'I wish I
had breast cancer'. Personally, I think it is a very
insensitive and misguided way of going about raising
awareness and raising funds," said the presenter.
"Of course I am coming from a deeply personal point
of view but I watched my daughter battle breast
cancer for seven years and then it spread to the
bones. Believe me at no time would she have said
(she) would prefer another form. She did not want it
at all," Ms Hunniford (73) told 'Newsnight'. (Thurs)
She said that her charity, The Caron Keating
Foundation, did not discriminate between cancer
causes and awarded funding to help patients
suffering from all types of the disease.
Irish Cancer Society figures show that 370 people
are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in Ireland each
year with the majority of cases in adults over the
age of 60.
Former Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan died from
the disease in 2011 at the age of 52. He was first
diagnosed with the illness two years previously.
The Pancreatic Cancer Action billboard and video
campaign in the UK, also shows a male patient
declaring his wish for testicular cancer instead of
The charity's chief executive, Ali Stunt, who is a
pancreatic cancer survivor, defended the
hard-hitting campaign saying its main aim is to
highlight the disease’s poor survival rates.
"What we are not trying to do is to belittle any
other cancer. Cancer is serious no matter the type
and even for those cancers with five-year survival
rates of 80-90 per cent people still die," Ms Stunt
wrote in her blog.
"Cancer is the last thing you would wish on anyone
you care about. Our advert is not stating that the
person wishes they contract
breast/cervical/testicular cancer, rather they wish
they could swap pancreatic cancer for a cancer that
will give them a better chance of survival."
The charity added in a statement: "Awareness is key
to early diagnosis and this is particularly true for
pancreatic cancer. In our case, despite the best
efforts of ourselves and other pancreatic cancer
organisations, for 40 years, pancreatic cancer
patients in the UK have faced the same grim
prognosis – only a three per cent chance of survival
and an average life expectancy of less than six
"It is important to remember that the advert
features real pancreatic cancer patients and all
they want is a better chance of survival."