A WOMAN whose mother died of pancreatic cancer wants the people of Oxfordshire to back a campaign for more cash to be spent researching the condition.
Kelley Spacey – whose mum Janet Priest died seven weeks after being diagnosed with the cancer – is backing a campaign that has so far been signed by about 38,000 people.
Her mother from Greater Leys died in 2011, aged 63, weeks after a diagnosis of cancer saw her tick off a list of dying wishes with the help of Oxford Mail readers.
Now her daughter is calling for 60,000 more people to sign up to force the Government to spend more on research.
Mum-of-four Mrs Spacey, of Rose Hill, Oxford, said: “So many people came together and helped my precious mum fulfil her final wishes before she died, including renewing her wedding vows with my dad Terry.
“There has been no change in the three per cent survival rate for pancreatic cancer for 40 years.
“But if 100,000 people sign the online petition by April 8, it will be considered for debate by the Backbench Business Committee, which could result in significantly increased research funding.”
Pancreatic Cancer UK says that in 2011 8,300 people in the UK died from the disease. That was 23 people a day.
It is the fifth most common cause of cancer death. A total of 159,178 people died in 2011 from all forms of cancer.
It is hard to measure how much is spent on research but the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund thinks that 1.6 per cent – £6.2m out of £393m – is spent a year on the disease.
Mrs Spacey says it is not enough.
She said: “My mum found out she had cancer not long after my dad suffered a stroke and heart attack and my brother battled leukaemia.
“Things happened quickly and she went downhill.
“The doctors said it was inoperable and she had not more than three months to live. But mum lasted just seven weeks from diagnosis.
“After mum passed, I was a wreck and couldn’t understand how this could happen so fast with no warning.
“I was shocked by the number of people who had had the same experience as me – watching a loved one die.
“I told my mum before she died that I would make a difference to the number of people dying and I know she would be proud of what we are trying to do.
“In fact,she would shout for everyone to sign this petition as she would hate for another family to go through what we did.”
To sign the e-petition, visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/48389
POSTERS CAUSE CONTROVERSY
THROUGH her campaigning, Mrs Spacey also met the star of a recent controversial poster campaign for pancreatic cancer, Kerry Harvey.
Miss Harvey, of Birmingham, appeared on posters under the headline: ‘I wish I had breast cancer’.
Other pancreatic cancer sufferers have also been shown ‘wishing’ they had different cancers, because of their better survival rates.
The poster campaign led to 100 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority.
Kerry Harvey died last Saturday, aged 24, 10 months after being diagnosed.
Mrs Spacey said: “Kerry asked me to take part in a calendar shoot for Macmillan in August and I spent a day with her there laughing and joking.
“We became good friends. Her death is a tragedy.”
WHEN pancreatic cancer first develops, it rarely causes any symptoms, which means it may not be noticed until it is quite advanced.
Symptoms can also be confused with other condtions. They include: pain in the tummy spreading to the back, weight loss, jaundice, pale, smelly stools, itchy skin and diabetes.
For more information, visit pancreaticcancer.org.uk