I thought my mum was just suffering heartburn but just two weeks after we discovered the truth she was dead

WHEN Gwen Booth started to struggle with heartburn, medics prescribed her with tablets to treat the issue.

The condition is also known as indigestion and can cause a burning feeling in the chest.


Kelly Williams is pictured above (left) with her mum Gwen Booth

In most cases it’s nothing serious and can be treated at home, the NHS states.

However, for one mum, the symptoms were down to pancreatic cancer, which affects over 10,000 people a year, Cancer Research UK states.

Gwen’s daughter, Kelly Williams said her mum had also been feeling sick and had been to their local GP in Sarn, Gwynedd, Wales to seek help.

Her mum’s health got worse, and the 66-year-old also started to suffer with extreme tiredness.

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It wasn’t until April 2015, months after she first started to experience symptoms that Gwen received a scan.

By that time, Kelly said ‘everything was going through her and she was vomiting’.

“She was so poorly one night that we just begged her, ‘please will you just go to A&E’. She was told by a junior doctor in A&E that she had pancreatic cancer.

“Looking back they should have investigated, because it was just going on and on. It wasn’t clearing up,” she told the BBC.

Gwen died just two weeks after being diagnosed and Kelly is now trying to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer, in order to prevent other lives being lost.

Even though her mum had been unwell for a while, Kelly said she had been shocked by her mum’s diagnosis.

She added that at the time, she ‘didn’t even know’ what pancreatic cancer was.

The 42-year-old said: “You look back at all the symptoms now and it’s there. It’s in the pancreatic cancer leaflet. If only we’d known about it, maybe it would have helped.”

The NHS says the main symptoms of pancreatic cancer are:

  1. the whites of your eyes or your skin turn yellow (jaundice), and you may also have itchy skin, darker pee and paler poo than usual
  2. loss of appetite or losing weight without trying to
  3. feeling tired or having no energy
  4. a high temperature, or feeling hot or shivery.

Guidance states that the cancer can also affect your digestion, and that you might suffer with the following symtoms:

  1. feeling sick
  2. diarrhoea or constipation, or other changes in your poo
  3. pain at the top part of your tummy and your back, which may feel worse when you’re eating or lying down and better when you lean forward
  4. symptoms of indigestion, such as feeling bloated

Kelly said people needed to be more aware of those symptoms, and has been raising funds for Pancreatic Cancer Action.

Since losing her mum she has held coffee mornings and ran marathons.

“Mam has gone and that can’t be changed but getting the knowledge and awareness out there could make a huge difference to others and that’s what Mam would have wanted,” she said.

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If you are worried about any of your symptoms then you should see your GP or call NHS 111.

In the event of an emergency, always call 999 or go to your nearest A&E department.

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