Daughter's warning over cancer symptoms after mum's death

The daughter of a Derbyshire woman who died from pancreatic cancer has urged others to be vigilant for symptoms of the disease.

Julie Stocks was given a terminal diagnosis in 2020, just weeks before the first Covid-19 lockdown started.

Despite intense treatment after the illness spread, she died in December last year, aged 56.

Her daughter, Emma Madden, wants to prevent people from receiving a late diagnosis like her mother did.

The 34-year-old said the main early warning sign was significant weight loss, while others include back pain and indigestion.

She added that her mother later became weak and severely jaundiced.

"The best-case scenario was gallstones," said Mrs Madden. "'And worse case?' Mum asked the doctor. He said 'liver cancer'.

"We were devastated, but we were hopeful. However, after being sent to hospital for tests, our worst case somehow became even more dire. The scan showed that mum didn't have liver cancer, she had pancreatic cancer."

Despite her terminal diagnosis, Mrs Stocks hoped she might be able to have surgery to remove her tumour after chemotherapy.

But a trial of targeted radiotherapy was unable to make it small enough, which meant surgery was off the table.

She died in hospital a week before Christmas after her symptoms had worsened.

'Early diagnosis'

Emma said: "There's no way to test for it, no way to detect it early and hardly any treatment options.

"My mum was almost eligible for surgery but the window of opportunity for this procedure is so small - too small.

"Early diagnosis is so important until we have better treatment options."

The Pancreatic Cancer UK charity says 80% of people with pancreatic cancer are not diagnosed until after the disease has spread.

Meanwhile, more than half of people with pancreatic cancer die within three months of diagnosis.

Diana Jupp, chief executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK, added: "We are urging the public to learn more about the disease, to talk to their loved ones and, if they have persistent symptoms, not to put off seeing their GP."

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