Pancreatic Cancer Week - a Hatfield woman’s story

MORE than 20 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK today and only one of them is likely to be alive in five years’ time.

Carole Challen, from Hatfield, is one of those pronounced with the illness and she spoke of her experience to mark Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Week, which began on Monday and finishes on Sunday.

The 42-year-old, whose condition was revealed this time last year, said: “I was diagnosed as a result of routine monitoring following a blocked bile duct earlier in the year.

“It was a massive shock to me and my family as I was asymptomatic and probably felt fitter and healthier than ever before.”

Since then Carole has gone on to have chemotherapy and is now on the road to recovery thanks the work of Pancreatic Cancer UK, which is trying to get the message out about the fifth commonest cause of cancer death in the country.

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Measures for looking into the cancer only receive one per cent of overall research funding across the UK and the charity is trying to raise extra funds with a wear purple day event.

Carole added: “I did not read or research much before surgery, partly because of the lack of time but also as some of it can be quite scary, so my husband and I decided to just deal with each situation as it happened.

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“Over the past few months I have done more reading and find it comforting to know that what I have gone through and am experiencing is normal and that I can tick these stages and events off.

“Six months on I am adjusting to everything that has happened both physically and psychologically. Getting back to a normal routine has been very important to me. I feel extremely lucky that I was diagnosed early and able to have surgery to remove the tumour and I realise it is this, my age and general health, that gives me the greatest chance of survival.”

Not only is Carole reacting well to the care, but incredibly she completed a 5k race while she was undertaking her final round of chemotherapy.

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