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Raising public awareness of pancreatic cancer

Posted by: Guest author 14 November 2016

Karen SteadEvery year pancreatic cancer survivor Karen Stead takes part in Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month (PCAM), and in fact tirelessly helps us all year round to put a spotlight on the disease. This year is no different. Find out more about Karen’s motivation to take part in Purple Lights for pancreatic cancer and why she thinks raising awareness is so important.

Like a large percentage of people who are eventually diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it took nearly a year and several GP visits before I was eventually diagnosed. This is because although it is the fifth biggest cancer killer and its symptoms are so little known or recognised even by the medical profession.

Unlike 95% of people who are diagnosed I am one of the lucky ones to survive for more than five years.

Because of this I do whatever I can to help to raise public awareness of pancreatic cancer. Each year in November I, along with others around the country, contact local establishments asking them whether they can, and are willing, to illuminate their buildings in the signature colour of purple to mark Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and World Pancreatic Cancer Day.

This year I succeeded in arranging for several buildings in Yorkshire to light up purple, the aim being to get people to take notice of changes and get them talking ..."Why is it purple?"

So on 17th November I have arranged for HMP Wakefield, Leeds First Direct Arena, Wakefield Town Hall, Bradford City Park Fountains and Clock Tower and the Leeds Trinity Shopping Centre to support the Day and light up purple.

So please check out the Purple Lights for pancreatic cancer website, to see what local buildings are participating in your area. Go along, take a photo and post it on social media using #PurpleLightsUK . On 17th November you can also use #WPCD and #InItTogether. Most importantly, let people know why it is happening. 

Last year when we were admiring the purple Wakefield Town Hall Clock Tower we got talking to a young man who was taking a photo. I asked him he if knew why it was purple, but he didn't. We then chatted about it so that resulted in an extra person who knew more about the campaign than before he took his photographs.

It is important that the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer is improved and this is one of the ways that we can all help to achieve it.