New Leeds support group for ‘silent’ cancer

Karen Stead at the YEP Best of Health Awards

Karen Stead at the YEP Best of Health Awards

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A new support group will be the first in the city offering help to people with a form of cancer known as the “silent killer”.

The group for patients with pancreatic cancer and their families,meets on Wednesday.

Patient turned campaigner Karen Stead has organised the event, along with patient John Nathan and nurse specialists Noreen Hawkshaw and Carmel Facer.

Mrs Stead, from Wakefield, said: “When someone is diagnosed, they are usually in shock and as it takes hold, the illness makes you so weak.

“When you do start to look for support the internet is terrifying but there are no support groups.”

She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer almost four years ago and underwent an operation which has left her with long-standing side effects, but she knows she is lucky to have survived.

Mrs Stead has been working to raise awareness of the disease, which is often not diagnosed until it is advanced so the prognosis is poor, with only four patients in 100 surviving for five years.

“When I was diagnosed and following my operation, I wanted to talk to other patients in the same situation for support and advice for both myself and my family,” added the 55-year-old, who was named Unsung Hero at the YEP Best of Health Awards 2013.

The new group, which is supported by charity Pancreatic Cancer UK, meets at New Headingley Club on St Michael’s Road, from 10.30am on Wednesday.

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