A retired GP is backing a new campaign which will support the early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, following a tragedy within his family.
Dr Hugh Campbell is backing the Unite-Diagnose-Save Lives campaign to help fund the first ever simple test for the disease following the death of his sister-in-law, Kim Hopper, from Yarburgh near Louth, just four weeks after her cancer diagnosis in November 2017.
Kim’s tragic death, at the age of 61, left her partner Chris - who she married just one week before she passed away - devastated.
Dr Campbell, who is Chris’s brother, said that his family was ‘completely shocked’ by Kim’s diagnosis and her decline in the four weeks that followed.
And, as a former GP himself, Dr Campbell knows first hand just how difficult it can be to detect this particular form of deadly cancer.
According to Pancreatic Cancer UK, just one in ten GPs say they have the tools they need to diagnose pancreatic cancer - which is the deadliest common cancer - early enough for treatment to be possible.
One in four pancreatic cancer patients die within a month of diagnosis, making it the quickest killing cancer.
No screening or early detection tests exist for the disease, and currently just over half of all patients are diagnosed at stage 4 cancer.
This month, Pancreatic Cancer UK has invested an initial £750,000 in the research and is asking for the public’s support to ensure that a breakthrough can be made.
Vague symptoms such as back pain, indigestion and weight loss mean that pancreatic cancer often goes undetected until after it has spread, leaving patients ineligible for the only potential cure - surgery to remove the tumour.
Dr Campbell said: “Kim’s patient journey had been awful, with various missed opportunities to establish what was wrong.
“She was a lovely person, we loved her very much and were close to her.”
• Visit www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk to find out more and support the campaign.