Pancreatic cancer is known as the ‘silent’ killer because many of its symptoms reflect less serious illnesses meaning that by the time diagnosis is confirmed it’s often too late – which is what happened to my dad. Dad was troubled by the kind of vague back pain and general malaise most people dismiss as a virus and Dad – who once performed an eye-watering operation on himself with a Stanley knife - certainly wouldn’t have consulted a doctor about a ‘bug’.
The day came, however, when Dad was faced with symptoms he couldn’t ignore; jaundice so severe that even the whites of his eyes were yellow, itching, stomach problems and so on. Soon we knew the worst. And by this stage, despite the very best efforts of the consultants and surgeons at the Royal Marsden, the disease was too far advanced to save him.
One of Dad’s most endearing qualities was that he smiled readily and could see the humour in the bleakest situation. This, and his amazing capacity to endure physical pain, were characteristics which bore him through his final illness. He never complained or felt sorry for himself. In sickness and in health he was genuinely amazed and grateful for any kindness and help given to him. And we miss him every day.
So, I decided, if a few minutes squirming with embarrassment doing the cancan on the beach – to the amazement of several dogwalkers – could help at all in Pancreatic Cancer UK’s campaign to raise awareness of this disease and improve survival rates, I’d willingly take part. All the cancan clips were stitched together to make one brilliant campaign video. To view it and also find out more about how you can keep the conversation about pancreatic cancer going, please click #CanCan4PanCan
You can spot me, if you don't blink, at about 41 seconds! (And this is what I had to do first on a public beach!)