This Saturday, a relay with a message
This Saturday four local athletes will be delivering messages of hope across Gibraltar in a bid to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer.
The purple relay for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Gibraltar will set off at 12.30pm this Saturday and will see athletes Sean Collado, Ian Yeats, Jerai Torres and Karl Baldachino each deliver a message.
The messages will be delivered to the Minister for Health, Gemma Arias-Vasquez, at St Bernards Hospital, Director of Public Health, Dr Helen Carter, will receive the second message at the Europa Sports Complex.
Chairwoman of Cancer Relief Gibraltar, Marisa Desoiza, will be presented with a message at the Centre in South Barracks.
Lastly the athletes will deliver a message to survivors.
Gibraltar’s sole survivor of pancreatic cancer, Louis Baldachino, founder of the charity Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Gibraltar, will receive the message at Casemates Square.
For Mr Baldachino championing awareness of pancreatic cancer is vital.
He is the only survivor in Gibraltar, with over 50 of those diagnosed in seven years having passed away. He said there are currently two patients undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer locally.
The five-year survival rate of pancreatic cancer, although increasing to around 8%, is the lowest of any of the 22 common cancers.
The relay baton will be displayed in the GHA and will serve as a reminder throughout the year of the need for early diagnosis.
No screening has been developed for pancreatic cancer, with the condition instead diagnosed with a blood test.
Mr Baldachino has campaigned that tests should be carried out on the onset of any vague symptoms.
“It's very difficult in the sense that there's no specific tests you can do or screening,” Mr Baldachino said.
“That's why we raise awareness, because the only thing that can improve is the awareness for the people and awareness for the GPs.”
He hopes with awareness GPs will be able to diagnose sooner, and patients will become more aware and see their doctor at an earlier stage.
Pancreatic cancer is typically caught at later stages as that is when the symptoms show.
Symptoms include indigestion, changes in stools, the on-set of diabetes, and back pain.
The GHA will be holding an awareness event on World Pancreatic Cancer Day, this Thursday, November 16 by the entrance of St Bernard’s Hospital.
The Moorish Castle will also be lit in purple and wear purple day will be held on November 16.
The Table Tennis Association will be holding a tournament in aid of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Gibraltar on November 25, contact 56070000 for more information.