Two signs when eating that signalled dad-of-three had pancreatic cancer

4 min read

Paul Bamford passed away from pancreatic cancer aged 51. Christmas 2020 was the last Christmas he spent with his wife Sharon, 53, and their three children Jack, George and Lily.

The family, who miss Paul every day, but especially at Christmas, are now sharing his story in a bid to raise awareness of the disease, but also as part of Pancreatic Cancer Action’s new fundraising campaign #MISSEDatChristmas.

On what turned out to be his last Christmas, Paul had gone over to his brother’s house on Christmas Eve for a party. When he got home, he was very tired and went straight to bed, which was out of character for him.

Paul played football twice a week, went to his home gym daily and regularly went out on his bike. For several months, Paul kept saying how tired he was. He put the fatigue down to his busy lifestyle as he was balancing working full-time with raising three children.

He started to feel bloated when eating and couldn’t eat big meals. He dismissed it as ‘an age’ thing and a sign that his metabolism was slowing down. 

Paul’s symptoms worsened. His stomach pain increased, and his fatigue meant he was sleeping much more. He was starting to eat less, was losing weight, and had started to feel and be sick.

His wife Sharon took him to A&E. After being assessed, the doctors in A&E said there was “nothing they could do” and told Paul to go home and wait for the appointments for further tests and the scan.

Over the next week, Paul’s condition declined further. He tried to go back to work but was finding it difficult as he was too ill. A week after attending A&E, when Paul didn’t get out of bed for work, Sharon contacted the GP and fought to get him admitted to hospital.

Paul was pushing himself to walk and forcing himself to be mobile. The doctors at the hospital initially couldn’t see how ill he was.

Over the next 10 days in hospital, Paul deteriorated quickly. Paul was discharged less than two weeks after being admitted, in a wheelchair, barely able to walk or talk, to await the outcome of biopsy results.

In April 2021, Paul was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer which had spread to his liver. It was an aggressive cancer, and unfortunately chemotherapy was not an option.

Paul passed away on the 8th of May 2021, only three weeks after diagnosis. His referral for the CT scan that the GP had requested did not arrive until after he had passed away.

Sharon Bamford said: “Our family is heartbroken and still learning to come to terms with life without Paul. My children are having to negotiate teenage life without their dad and best friend, and me, without my rock and soulmate. It’s such a devastating, cruel and painful disease.

“My hope is that by getting involved in Pancreatic Cancer Action’s new #MISSEDatChristmas fundraising campaign, other families won’t have to go through what we went through, and their loved ones won’t be missed at Christmas.”

Pancreatic Cancer Action is inviting people to donate and share a dedication to loved ones they’ve lost to pancreatic cancer. Participants will receive a special purple heart to display in their loved one’s memory this Christmas. All donations will help PCA fight for earlier diagnosis.

Pancreatic cancer is the deadliest of all common cancers, with a 5-year survival rate of less than 8 percent. Each year around 10,500 people in the UK are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Around 26 people die from pancreatic cancer every day in the UK. With early diagnosis, pancreatic cancer can be survived.

Joe Kirwin, Chief Executive of Pancreatic Cancer Action, said: “Our #MISSEDatChristmas campaign offers an opportunity for people to remember their loved ones lost to pancreatic cancer. We’ve had special purple hearts made for people to display in their memory, and we’re sending these out to everyone who supports the campaign.

“In the UK, around 26 people die every day from pancreatic cancer. For just £10, you could help us get patients and their families vital information and support. All the money raised will go towards fighting for earlier diagnosis to help ensure that more people aren’t missed at Christmas.”

Learn more about Pancreatic Cancer Action’s #MISSEDatChristmas campaign:

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