I pray we find a cure for this disease and can save life's great people like my dad...

Publication Date10 February 2021
It is becoming an increasingly common form of cancer, with the survival rate still in single figures after 50 years.

In recent weeks, SNP MSP Clare Adamson, left, - who is a long-standing and passionate advocate for pancreatic cancer awareness - led a Parliamentary debate marking Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

She called for better awareness of the symptoms, early diagnosis and improved support throughout the care pathway. And she demanded better outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients and their loved ones - patients like Pat Dolan, who lost his life to the disease in 2018.

Here, his daughter tells of her dad's experience of living with pancreatic cancer and explains how this can be the decade of change in the fight against the deadly disease...

When doctors dealt dying Lanarkshire grandad Pat Dolan a card that would extend his life by six weeks, his loving family backed him all the way when he decided to turn it down.

They wanted him to live with terminal pancreatic cancer - not die trying to spend an extra few weeks with them.

Pat was aged 64 when he was diagnosed with the deadliest common form of cancer in Scotland, with tragically low survival rates. He was given between three and six months to live.

Like most pancreatic cancer patients, Pat's symptoms began with seemingly everday indigestion and heartburn - a source of mild discomfort he hadn't experienced before, but nothing, he insisted, to bother the doctor with.

Then crept in rib pain in his back, which he put down to a fall a year earlier, when the family dog had pulled him over in a fight with a cat.

It all seemed perfectly logical, no cause for concern.

But his youngest daughter, Lorna McGraw, was worried.

Her friend, Fiona Brown, had lost her mum to pancreatic cancer, and she knew some of the symptoms.

Even before she'd raised her fears with her parents and two sisters, and prior to any tests, Lorna called Fiona to share her concerns.

"My dad had these symptoms for a long time before even thinking about going to the doctor," said Lorna, 37.

"I don't know if it's a generation thing, but he'd not wanted to mention anything. My mum and dad were the type who did what they are told by people in the NHS, people in authority.

"They believed you shouldn't annoy these people. Dad thought he'd be wasting their time with something really minor."

Having been prescribed indigestion medication by his GP, Pat consulted the practice nurse about pain in his ribs - and she suggested he complain of a cough...

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