We think mom’s weight loss is due to dieting but it’s cancer

SIBLINGS spoke of their heartbreak, knowing their mother could have been saved if her cancer had been found earlier.

Megan Hill-Clement and her brother Stephen, from Cardiff, lost their mother, Elaine, in 2018.

Elaine Hill-Clement died in 2018 after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer


Elaine Hill-Clement died in 2018 after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancerCredit: Megan Hill / MEDIA WALES
Mother dies five months after she was brutally diagnosed


Mother dies five months after she was brutally diagnosedCredit: Megan Hill / MEDIA WALES

She’s been losing weight and going to her doctor complaining of back pain for 5 years, which sometimes means she’s forced to take time off work.

After years of ups and downs, the doctors thought it might be her gallbladder and sent her for an MRI.

During this scan, pancreatic cancer was discovered, and Elaine, 61, was told she had six months to live.

Tragically, she passed away 5 months after being diagnosed – with her children already left heartbroken, it wasn’t discovered sooner.

Stephen tell Wales Online: “After she was diagnosed, we learned that her pain was indeed a symptom of pancreatic cancer. She must have had cancer for several years before she was actually diagnosed.

“It was very challenging and frustrating but my mentality is to just get over it and get through it every day. It’s been a bit spinning and now it’s hazy.”

Megan added: “She was always complaining about her weight but she was never fat, she was always slim. We just thought she was losing weight from dieting and coming to Weight Watchers.

“Looking back now, weight loss must have been cancer, but we didn’t know it at the time.

“It was a complete shock to us. Absolutely horrible. We had never heard of pancreatic cancer before that time. I didn’t understand how she could look so good. But I have terminal cancer.”

Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rates of any common cancer, with early diagnosis key.

The Less Surviving Cancer Task Force, which is supported by charities like Tenovus Cancer Care, wanted to highlight six of the deadliest cancers – lung, liver, brain, esophageal, pancreatic and stomach.

Judi Rhys, executive director of Tenovus Cancer Care, told BBC: “What we are concerned about is the extremely poor outcome of these six cancers.

“We know in Wales about 4,400 people will get these cancers every year and unfortunately only 16% of them will survive for five years, so a really bad outcome.”

The task force says red flags for cancers with less survivability include indigestion, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, difficulty swallowing, persistent cough, unexplained fatigue cause, headache or nausea.

Pancreatic cancer may not have any symptoms, or they may be difficult to detect.

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer may include:

  • the whites of your eyes or skin turn yellow (jaundice), you may also have itchy skin, darker urine, and paler stools than usual
  • loss of appetite or weight loss without trying
  • feel tired or have no energy
  • high temperature, or feeling hot or shivering

Other symptoms can affect your digestion, such as:

  • feel or be sick
  • diarrhea or constipation or other changes in your stool
  • pain in the top part of the abdomen and back, which may feel worse when you eat or lie down and get better when you lean forward
  • indigestion symptoms, such as feeling bloated
Elaine complained of back pain for 5 years before she was diagnosed


Elaine complained of back pain for 5 years before she was diagnosedCredit: Megan Hill / MEDIA WALES
Popular drink ‘doubles’ bowel cancer risk in adults with more than twice a day We think mom’s weight loss is due to dieting but it’s cancer

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