JANE Loxton is on a mission to help develop a simple blood test to detect pancreatic cancer so no one has to go through what she did.
She's a nurse of 40 years, but her experience wasn't enough to identify the symptoms her late husband Ian carried with him until he was eventually diagnosed 20 weeks before his death.
"Initially we thought he had a gastric ulcer, but it just got worse and worse and all medications he was put on didn't help,” Ms Loxton said.
"It took two months to be detected and it was only because he had a CT scan while we were travelling through South Australia and then it was 20 weeks until he passed away.”
Pancreatic cancer has just a 7% five-year survival rate once detected, whereas breast cancer is up about 85% with recent developments.
Ms Loxton believes that's because we are yet to develop a simple detection test.
"Because of the amount of radiation in cat scans they won't push you through willy-nilly. "You've got to have specific symptoms which is a problem.
"A lot of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer are put down to non-nasty things, because everyone has back pain as some stage; people suffer from constipation or diarrhoea and people get depressed.
"There's no blood test like a lot of other cancers.
"There's no smears or cheap detection and it's sort of tucked away behind the stomach and spine.”
Ms Loxton has done just about every charity imaginable since Ian died in 2011, including fashion parades, fun runs and even wrote a book about Ian's life called Hip Hop Horah!.
The funds she's raised have paid for two university students' PhDs on pancreatic cancer, which have provided much-needed research in the field.
You can buy the book at the Bribie Island Seaside Museum for $20 or donate directly at www.australian rotaryhealth.org.au.
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