Pancreatic cancer real lives


Dianne Olds was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February 2012, at the age of 66. She had had no previous symptoms, but suddenly developed jaundice and a blood test and scan confirmed the tumour.

‘I was told it was not operable and started on gemcitabine chemotherapy,’ said Dianne. A stent was fitted for the liver blockage, but Dianne suffered repeated infections requiring hospital admissions and the removal of her gallbladder.

Then Dianne was told of a study at Garvan using a combined chemotherapy of abraxane with gemcitabine. Although she couldn’t join the study, Dianne did opt to try this, even though the cost was almost $1000 per weekly dose.

‘After two months on the combined treatment, my tumour had shrunk so dramatically that surgery became an option.’

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When Rob was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on 23rd May 2011, we had no illusions as to how devastating this news was. Rob’s father had died only three months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the age of 68.

Luckily though, after several further tests, Rob was deemed suitable for surgery and underwent a Whipple’s procedure under the expert team led by Associate Professor Jas Samra at Royal North Shore Hospital. He made a remarkable recovery from this massive surgery and was discharged 10 days later. Rob enjoyed another 12 months of relatively good health until he was diagnosed with inoperable metastases in July 2012. He died three months later on the 10th October at the age of 65.

‘Rob was in the extraordinary position of not only being involved in the research, but of providing tissue as well.’

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Karen Livingstone tragically lost her partner Dave to pancreatic cancer in 2009. Here, she shares her story.

Dave Grant was a father of three to Marieke, Madeleine and Spencer. He was also one of Australia’s best live stand-up comics. A funny man. Throughout his career, Dave had promoted men’s health, wellbeing and positivity through his comedy. He had a reputation as the fittest man in comedy. Dave ran everyday on the beach and he went to the gym 4 times a week.

‘How do you explain to your 9-year old son and 13-year old daughter that their dad has a 5% chance of survival? It was like your worst nightmare and then some.’

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