‘My dad’s pancreatic cancer was mistaken as diabetes – we need faster diagnosis and treatment’

By Staff

A South London man who lost his dad to pancreatic cancer is fighting for better treatment of patients ‘so people don’t have to suffer like my dad did’. Lewis Rogers, 39, lives in Wandsworth and lost his father Jeff to the disease in May 2019.

Jeff died six months after his diagnosis after his symptoms were initially mistaken for diabetes. It was only after a second visit to the GP, and weeks of waiting for the results from various scans that the cancer was discovered.

Lewis told MyLondon: “I was very lucky because we had six months with dad, but actually, the majority of people who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer have half of that. When I found out the prognosis was three months that came as a shock to me, I didn’t really know much, if anything about pancreatic cancer when dad was diagnosed.”

READ MORE: ‘I’ve been given 6 months to live at 58 – I’m determined to make it to my 60th birthday

Jeff, a lifelong engineer, never got to enjoy the retirement he had begun looking forward to just months before receiving the devastating news. He died aged 59.

“For most people, and certainly in my dad’s case, treatment was never going to save his life,” Lewis said. “His symptoms started as a bit of a tummy ache and back pain, which is what led him to go to the GP.

“It was nine weeks after visiting the GP, that we were actually given the diagnosis that it was pancreatic cancer. Nine weeks of uncertainty was really quite unbearable, knowing that whole time that it could be cancer, but not knowing.

“Dad’s ethos was to make the most of his six months. We are so lucky to have had this time, but it was only six months. That’s the reality. I know many people don’t even get that, but it’s very easy to feel like you’ve been robbed of precious memories.”

He recalls the joy him and his two brothers had taking their dad to Anfield to watch Liverpool before he passed, somewhere he often visited when he was younger. Lewis added: “I remember so clearly saying goodbye to him for the last time. He was so weak at that point, so he was asleep.

“I said goodbye to him, walked out the room and burst into tears. He was a wonderful man, optimistic and solutions focused, and I admired that about him.”

Lewis is calling for the next government to prioritise the disease, which is projected to kill 50,000 people by the end of the next Parliament. He is the face of ‘Demand Survival Now’, a campaign by the charity Pancreatic Cancer UK urging major political parties to commit to investing in more research and speeding up diagnosis.

Lewis said: “I’m very hopeful that we can improve the future for pancreatic cancer patients, so people don’t have to suffer like my dad did. But we need more than just hope. We need people in power to commit to investment in research.

“To commit to getting people diagnosed faster, and into treatment quicker. It is entirely achievable. But it requires those in power to pledge to make improving pancreatic cancer survival a priority. I hope dad would be very proud of the campaign.”

Lewis is the first person to sign a new open letter organised by Pancreatic Cancer UK urging whoever becomes the next Prime Minister to take action and save thousands of lives. You can add your name to the list here.

Get the biggest stories from around London straight to your inbox. Sign up to MyLondon’s The 12 HERE for the 12 biggest stories each day.

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *