A woman from Long Eaton has given her support to a new charity campaign to fund the development of a new test to detect the cancer from which her father died.
Lucy Hobson, 38, is backing Pancreatic Cancer UK’s efforts to develop a simple test for the disease, which kills one in four patients within a month of diagnosis because symptoms are hard to spot early on.
Her dad Stuart died 12 days after his pancreatic cancer was found, aged 61, and on the same day he was due to give her sister away at her wedding.
Lucy said: “It was just horrendous. It was all so sudden. He deteriorated so quickly. It’s crazy that pancreatic cancer has the highest death rate, yet there’s no simple test for it.
“We’ve got good survival rates with cancers like breast cancer because they can be caught before it’s too late.”
Pancreatic cancer often first shows up as back pain, indigestion, and weight-loss, and polling has found that just 11 per cent of GPs feel confident that they would be able to detect the root cause.
By the time it is found, the only option to try and cure the cancer is usually surgery.
In Stuart’s case, he had been dieting to get in shape for the wedding but, once he reached his goal, his weight continued to drop without explanation.
When he developed back pain and his urine turned dark, Stuart had blood tests which identified an issue with his liver, then an ultrasound, but nothing pointed towards cancer.
Lucy said: “I want people to know what happened to my dad and that this happens to fit and healthy people.”
Stuart’s condition worsened, he became jaundiced and struggled to eat, and it took a CT scan, endoscopy and a biopsy to reach the correct diagnosis, by which time the disease had already spread.
Around 650 East Midlands residents are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year.
The charity’s campaign Unite-Diagnose-SaveLives is aiming to produce the first-ever simple test for pancreatic cancer by 2024 by funding a team of 40 researchers at an initial cost of £750,000.
Diana Jupp, chief executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK, said: “For too long pancreatic cancer has been able to silently go undetected, devastating families like Lucy’s.
Thousands of patients a year, still reeling from a cancer diagnosis, are told it’s too late, that nothing can be done. That has to stop.”
To donate to the campaign, go to unitediagnosesavelives.org.uk.