A support group for people with pancreatic cancer and their families has been set up by a woman who has been battling the illness.
Karen Stead, from Outwood, was diagnosed with the illness four years ago, and hopes pancreatic cancer sufferers can find advice and support from each other at the group.
Mrs Stead, who is a patient at St James Infirmary, Leeds, is also raising awareness of the symptoms of the disease, which are notoriously hard to diagnose.
Pancreatic cancer nurses and a specialist surgeon will be at the first meeting of the support group in Leeds on July 2.
Mrs Stead, 55, said: “Only four in a hundred people who have the disease live for five years, and that has not changed in 40 years.
“It is very hard to diagnose. That’s why it’s known as a silent killer.”
Symptoms of the illness include yellow skin or eyes, itching, unexplained weight loss, abdominal pain and stools that appear oily and floating.
Charity Pancreatic Cancer UK said many people were misdiagnosed and told they had other conditions like gallstones and diabetes,
Pancreatic cancer patients in their 30s and 40s were more likely to have a delayed diagnosis or be misdiagnosed.
Younger patients tend to wait longer to act on their symptoms, and 45 per cent of those aged 16-54 were told their symptoms were not serious before being properly diagnosed.
The first meeting of the support group will be held at New Headingley Club, on St Michael’s Road, Headingley, Leeds, from 10.30am-12.30pm.
Mrs Stead had surgery to remove her pancreas, stomach, small intestine, bile duct and gall bladder in September 2010.
She said there were few support groups for people with pancreatic cancer.
Mrs Stead said: “I didn’t actually know anyone else with the illness until last year.
“Family, friends and carers also invited along because the disease is so debilitation people need a lot of care.”