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When Cathy Baker passed away aged just 45, only five months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2011, her husband Trevor decided to start campaigning for higher funding into the cancer which claimed his wife’s life.
Trevor, 52, launched a campaign to reader of a regional newspaper in order for him to reach 100,000 signatures on a petition requesting the Department of Health to focus on improving detection, diagnosis and survival rates. He managed to raise 106,000 signatures before taking his petition to Parliament.
Trevor’s campaign will now be considered for debate by those in Parliament, and could result in a significantly increased research budget. Mr Baker, from Kent, said, “Naturally I was really happy when we reached the target. The petition was trending at over 1,500 signatures an hour at one stage and it was due to regional newspapers. I was happy but found it very emotional due to the fact that at last something is happening to make a difference but alas too late for Cathy.”
Cathy was a teaching assistant at a local school, and originally thought she was suffering from a bad back. It took several visits to her doctors to diagnose the seriousness of her condition. Its cases like this which Trevor is hoping to stop from recurring. By increasing the Government funding into causes like pancreatic cancer, research can lead to tools that help GPs diagnose (or rule out) pancreatic cancer and help patients like Cathy get treatment faster.
Despite being one of the UK’s deadliest cancers (there’s a less than 5% five-year survival rate for those diagnosed) pancreatic cancer receives a miniscule amount of Government funding. Raising awareness of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer is one way for people to get diagnosed earlier, which means they’ll get treatment faster and survival rates will start to increase. Funding could also be used to find potential treatments to help those with the disease.