I had in the past nursed people who were suffering from pancreatic cancer and I was aware of it, however through the conversations I have had with Lesley Goodburn about her and her husband Seth’s experience I now know much much more.
I still feel a sense of shock that considering its prevalence and the prognosis for people who are diagnosed late, more is not known by the population at large about this disease.
The signs and symptoms are tricky to pin down, because they can be a sign of all sorts of other serious and less serious conditions, thus sadly making its late diagnoses not uncommon. Symptoms include changes in bowel habits, fatigue, weight loss, and a loss of appetite.
What usually proceeds a visit to the Dr is stomach and back pain, with some people also having signs of jaundice.
We do know there are some people who are more at risk of developing Pancreatic Cancer, including people over 55, men, those who smoke and those with a family history of the disease.
Having worked on men’s health projects in the past I am well aware that men are quite often reluctant to see a Dr when they are unwell, added to that is a commonly held perception that people need to stay away from services because of the current pandemic.
This all makes it doubly important to get clear messages out, particularly to those most at risk groups that they must look out for those early signs and see a Dr if they think there is even the slightest risk, they have the disease. Early diagnosis and swift access to treatment can make a difference, so I have pledged for the month of November (and beyond) to use all the media channels I have access to get messages out about looking for signs and symptoms of this awful disease.