Northern Ireland news

Campaign to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer

Kerry Irvine's husband Noel was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after receiving treatment for IBS 18 months earlier

AN Omagh woman is helping lead a charity campaign to raise awareness of the disease that killed her husband.

Kerry Irvine's husband Noel was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after receiving treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome 18 months earlier - a common misdiagnosis.

Awareness of pancreatic cancer in Northern Ireland is the lowest in the UK, with only 2 per cent of the population knowing a lot about its symptoms.

It has the lowest survival rate for all 22 common cancers - less than 7 per cent.

Pancreatic Cancer Action (PCA) has said increased knowledge of the signs and symptoms was vital for early diagnosis and increased survival rates.

This is because there is no screening test.

A recent survey also showed 62 per cent of people did not know any symptoms.

PCA is leading a campaign to raise awareness among the public, pharmacy teams and GPs.

Ms Irvine set up Action4Noel, a fund to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer Action in Noel's memory. She is also one of the founding members of the Northern Ireland Pancreatic Cancer Group, which has helped fund PCA's awareness campaign.

"I hope that the awareness raising that we are undertaking with PCA will contribute directly to a future in Northern Ireland in which more people can survive pancreatic cancer, there are more treatment options available and there is better awareness of pancreatic cancer and its symptoms," she said.

"I wish I had known that the signs and symptoms Noel was displaying were classic of pancreatic cancer - maybe if we had known he would have had a better chance of survival."

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