STRUGGLING with stomach pain, Rebecca Gossage's father knew something wasn't right.
Keith Bromyard had first become aware of his symptoms in October 2021.
Less than two months later her was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which claimed his life at just 65-years-old.
The cancer has the lowest survival rate of any common cancer in the UK – with more than half of patients dying within three months of diagnosis.
Now his daughter Rebecca, is calling on the government to make sure all patients are offered GP appointments in the space of two weeks.
As well as battling stomach pain, Rebecca, who lives in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, said her dad had also started to rapidly lose weight.
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However, he had to wait months for tests, which would later find he was suffering with pancreatic cancer.
He was diagnosed on December 30 2021, but was told it had been found too late for him to be eligible for the only curative treatment for pancreatic cancer, surgery.
Rebecca, 38, said her dad was given some hope, as he was told he was the ideal candidate for chemotherapy.
But waiting for the treatment, he was met with several cancelled appointments.
Still suffering, Keith's wife was one day forced to call an ambulance on February 9 this year due to the pain her husband was in.
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Rebecca said: “He was outside the hospital in the ambulance for 7 hours on the stretcher due to a backlog at A&E.
"Even though it was oncology he needed to go to, he still needed to be triaged through A&E.
"This is absolutely unacceptable: one, it was massively uncomfortable for him because he had started to develop pressure sores on his back; and two, a whole team of paramedics and an ambulance were outside of the hospital for 7 hours when they were likely needed elsewhere.”
Sadly, Keith died just three days after being admitted to hospital, having never seen his oncologist.
Now, Rebecca is working with Pancreatic Cancer UK on their 'No Time to Wait' campaign.
The charity is calling on governments across the UK to publish funded cancer plans to deliver faster diagnosis and treatment for people with pancreatic cancer who have no time to wait.
Rebecca added: "The government have been saying that everybody will get a GP appointment within two weeks.
"Two weeks when you've got pancreatic cancer is such a huge amount of time.
"It’s too long. It's so fast. It must be higher on the government’s agenda because the signs that dad had presented with, had they been picked up earlier with a scan, it might have been a bit more manageable for everybody.
"It might not have been so much of a shock, or he may have received chemo.”
The 6 signs of pancreatic cancer you need to know
Pancreatic cancer occurs when malignant – cancerous – cells form in the tissues of the pancreas.
The NHS states that common symptoms include abdominal and back pain, unexplained weight loss and jaundice.
Other symptoms can include:
- Loss of appetite
- Changes to bowel habits such as diarrhoea or constipation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty swallowing
- Patients may also suffer the symptoms of diabetes because pancreatic disease stops the production of insulin.
Data from Pancreatic Cancer UK shows that almost 60 per cent of people with the disease are being diagnosed in A&E or other emergency care – the highest proportion of any common cancer.
For most people, this means it's too late for life saving treatments and more than half of people die within three months of their diagnosis, making pancreatic cancer the quickest killing cancer, medics at the charity say.
Diana Jupp, CEO of Pancreatic Cancer UK said the the pandemic, staff shortages and underfunding have all pushed the NHS to breaking point.
"Pancreatic cancer is the quickest killing cancer, and any delays to diagnosis and treatment could cost people their chance of survival. There is no time to wait.
“Governments across the UK must bring forward and implement funded cancer plans to deliver faster diagnosis and treatment that will save lives, not just this winter but well into the future.
"We cannot afford to continue lurching from one worsening crisis to another. People with pancreatic cancer, their loved ones, and hardworking NHS staff all deserve better.”
An NHS spokesperson, said: "More people than ever before are being referred by their GP with suspected cancer, and over 90 per cent of those diagnosed with cancer start their treatment within a month.
"The NHS is investing billions to expand diagnostic treatment capacity, for which cancer will be prioritised, and has written to Trusts with the longest backlogs asking them to urgently set out plans to reduce cancer waits – helping them redesign their care to meet the increased demand."
In a statement, the Department for Health and Social Care said: " Every death from cancer is a tragedy. We are working at pace to improve outcomes for cancer patients across England, including by opening over 80 community diagnostics centres which have delivered over two million addition scans, tests and checks.
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“During August, 92 per cent of people started cancer treatment within a month of receiving a decision to treat.
“We are also improving access to general practice, so that patients who need an appointment can get one within two weeks and those with urgent needs are seen within the same day.”
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