THIS year in Australia, pancreatic cancer will surpass the major breast and prostate cancers to become the third leading cause of cancer death in the country. Yet cancer is often overlooked, in part because so few people know where the pancreas is in the body or what it does.

For this reason, most cases of pancreatic cancer worldwide are often diagnosed at stage III or IV, usually too late to be cured.

The World Pancreatic Cancer Day 2022 global campaign, themed “It’s About Time”, was once again brought to Australia by members of the local community – the family of the late Rochelle Goulburn.

Rochelle’s daughter, Jessica Abelsohn, who chairs the World Pancreatic Cancer Day committee and co-founded the #PurpleOurWorld local awareness campaign with her family, said if it’s too late for her mother, the goal of the campaign was to make sure that families had more time together and that the public knew about the symptoms of pancreatic cancer.

“There are a lot of awareness campaigns going on around the world, like lighting up buildings – around 40 landmarks across Australia are taking part – and heavy social media pressure to start the all-important conversation,” he said. said Abelsohn.

An awareness campaign the family recently organized was a function at NSW Parliament House sponsored by local Vaucluse member Goulburn family member Gabrielle Upton and local Abelsohn member Dr Marjorie O’Neill, member of Coogee.

The ceremony was well attended by Members of Parliament, researchers, clinicians, board members and staff of Australia’s leading pancreatic cancer charities, as well as people who had lost loved ones. expensive because of illness.

O’Neill shared his personal story with pancreatic cancer, explaining that his father Brian O’Neill died hours after his election victory in 2019. He had been diagnosed three months prior.

Bronnie Taylor MLC, Minister for Women, Regional Health and Mental Health, also shared her family history.

Taylor was a cancer nurse before her election to Parliament and she said the hardest part about having pancreatic cancer with her father was that it was ‘so fast and so horrible’ that she was unable to care for it. him.

The theme of the evening was “stories,” and while Abelsohn and his father, Daniel Goulburn, shared Rochelle’s story, one of the highlights was an exclusive video from Monty Python founding member Eric Idle, who shared that he is now officially a pancreatic cancer survivor.

“There is power in hope,” Abelsohn said.

“When mum was diagnosed, the average five-year survival rate was 5.8%. Now it’s 12%. It’s progress, but we have to work harder.

Jessica Abelsohn is an employee of The Australian Jewish News.

World Pancreatic Cancer Day is celebrated annually on the third Thursday of November. Follow #PurpleOurWorld on Facebook and instagram for more information.

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