A Dukinfield resident and his wife, who had their world turned upside down following a pancreatic cancer diagnosis, are trying to raise awareness of the disease so people can get their symptoms checked out as early as possible.
Martin Wadsworth, 61, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2019, led a very active lifestyle: running, cycling and playing rugby. Previously, he has taken part in the Tour of Tameside and would often run the 12 miles to work. Martin and his wife Jane, love the countryside and going for long walks, and had a passion for travelling in their campervan.
Martin and his wife support the Tameside Council-backed Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day on Thursday 18 November when Dukinfield Town Hall was lit purple in honour of all those affected by the disease.
Martin first noticed something wasn’t quite right when he started getting stomach pains and an ache in his lower back. This was followed by weight loss, not having much appetite, fatigue and an upset stomach and bowels. Additional symptoms that may be early warning signs could be indigestion, jaundice and changes in bowel movements.
Receiving the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was heart-breaking for the family. Jane said: “When you receive that type of news you doubt that you’ll be able to carry on but you find the inner strength to cope. We are very positive people and have found that this has helped immensely."
Pancreatic cancer often doesn’t cause symptoms in the early stages. As it grows, the cancer may start to cause symptoms which may not be specific to the disease, and they may come and go to begin with. This can make pancreatic cancer hard to diagnose.
It is the tenth most common cancer in England and the fifth biggest killer, as patients are normally diagnosed in the later stages of the disease. In Tameside and Glossop there are on average 38 pancreatic cancer diagnoses each year and 31 deaths a year.
Talking about his treatment over the past two years, Jane said: “Martin had six months of chemotherapy, a month of daily radiotherapy and has just finished a further six months of chemotherapy. It’s been very difficult but we are so lucky that Martin has responded well to his ongoing treatment."
“We are so fortunate to have Christie’s on our doorstep, they have been amazing.”
Following Martin’s diagnosis, Jane has one piece of advice for anyone with potential symptoms: “Please don’t ignore any changes in your body and see your GP with any concerns you have. The sooner you get a diagnosis the better chance you have.”
Cllr Eleanor Wills, Tameside Council executive member of Adult Social Care and Population Health, said: “Pancreatic cancer is terrible disease that seriously impacts individuals and families across our borough. I’m so grateful to Martin and Jane for sharing their story to make us all aware of how this disease has impacted them and what symptoms we should look out for.
“If you have any potential symptoms please contact your GP as soon as possible.”
Additional advice and support is available through Pancreatic Cancer UK by calling 0808 801 0707, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting https://www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/.