Pancreatic cancer claims around 10,500 new victims each year in the UK alone, yet only 10 percent of patients are diagnosed in time for life-saving surgery.

Studies show that 43 percent of people with pancreatic cancer are diagnosed when admitted to A&E, when it’s usually too late for any curative treatment.

One of these people was Helen Winter, a retired PA and keen amateur actress from London

The mum was only diagnosed with the deadly condition once her symptoms progressed rapidly. Sadly, she died three weeks later after receiving her diagnosis.

Her daughter is now speaking out to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer signs as she felt “there was so little time left” for her mum.

Susanna Winter, Helen’s daughter, said: “I don’t think mum was aware of the signs of pancreatic cancer before she was diagnosed and, up until the point when her itching skin had become unbearable. 

“She hadn’t really mentioned her symptoms to my brother, sister, or me; she didn’t want to worry us till she had to.

“If we had known more about the signs and symptoms of the disease, maybe her outcome could have been different. 

“Instead, we lost her just three weeks after she was diagnosed. We miss her, and we always will.”

The first signs to ring alarm bells for Helen were persisting tiredness and an upset stomach, but she thought it was down to her age.

However, the tumour residing in her pancreas didn’t stop there and kept producing more and more symptoms.

Eventually, the mum started experiencing yellowing of her eyes and skin, also known as jaundice.

This tell-tale pancreatic cancer symptom is usually accompanied by dark urine, pale stools and severe skin itching, which also appeared in Helen’s case.

These warning signs all came on so suddenly, leaving her very alarmed.

She called 111 who advised her to go and have blood tests and a computerised tomography scan done immediately.

Helen saw a consultant the following week, where she received the devastating news that the doctor found a large and inoperable tumour. She died three weeks later in a hospice.

Susanna has shared her mum’s story as the UK charity Pancreatic Cancer Action has launched its new campaign #MISSED to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer and improve future missed diagnosis statistics.

Joe Kirwin, CEO of Pancreatic Cancer Action said: “Our PCAM campaign #MISSED was developed to raise awareness of all the missed pancreatic cancer diagnoses that have had huge, irrevocable impacts on people’s lives. 

“Symptoms were missed, and now thousands of families are missing their loved ones. If detected earlier, many pancreatic cancer sufferers could survive – but it all starts with education.”

The campaign also calls on the Government to keep its promise of delivering 6,000 extra GPs in England.

The charity explained that extra 6,000 GPs would allow for more time to spend on diagnosis and education, like completing the charity’s accredited GP e-learning course

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