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Rutland widower warns of pancreatic cancer which can kill in days

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A widower has joined health experts in urging people to watch out for signs of pancreatic cancer, which can kill in a matter of days.

The warning comes a year after the death of Geri Stewart of Market Overton and as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month approaches in November.

Geri, who worked in recruitment and career development, died on October 17 last year aged 65, shortly after visiting grandchildren in Chester.

Geri Stewart (20069726)
Geri Stewart (20069726)

Husband Andrew recalled: “She didn’t look very well. I made her tea but that was all she wanted. Nothing to eat.”

The former county councillor and ex-Red Arrows pilot suggested his wife went to see a doctor, but Geri, a mother of two, replied: “Doctors are for sick people, not how I feel.”

But the next day she saw a doctor who wanted Geri to take tests at hospital. They showed she might have a liver condition and a biopsy was needed.

“She was admitted to hospital where a cancer specialist doctor told me she had cancer and the outlook was not good. Five days later, she died.”

Andrew and Geri Stewart (19638596)
Andrew and Geri Stewart (19638596)

Andrew added: “Live for today as no-one knows what tomorrow will bring.”

Symptoms can include tummy and back pain, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, indigestion, changes to bowel habits, jaundice, problems digesting food, bloating, burping or wind, feeling and being sick and difficulty swallowing.

If they persist people should see a doctor.

Pancreatic cancer is the deadliest of cancers, with 10,000 people diagnosed of it in Britain every year. A quarter of its victims die within a month and three quarters within a year.

Dr Jean Penny of Whissendine, a friend of Geri, said: “Pancreatic cancer leaves family and friends grieving as all cancers do, but it is the lack of obvious symptoms and the speed of this disease that causes a devastating shock for those left behind.”

Those with the cancer or know people with it should know there are organisations who can give help and support.

They include Pancreatic Cancer UK on 0808 802 0707, Macmillan Cancer Support on 0808 808 0000, local palliative care services - Loros, Sue Ryder, St Barnabas and Dove Cottage, plus GPs and primary care teams.

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